By: Yasha Washington, Staff Reporter
“As I reflected on this place, I discovered that it’s the place that connects it all. That no matter what our major, no matter where we are on this campus, no matter what our ambition is, the chapel has been that type of space that connects it all. And this is indeed a Sunday that reflects that,” said Dr. Kanika McGee, Associate Dean of the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel and Assistant Dean of Management at the School of Business.
Sep. 9, 2018 was certainly a day that reflected the words of Dr McGee. Sheltered in the Cramton Auditorium were representatives and leaders of more than 70 student organizations for the annual Student Leader Commissioning Service. Hosted by the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel in coordination with the Chapel Assistants of Howard University, Howard University Student Association (HUSA) and the Office of Student Life and Activities, this special service is designed to offer encouragement to students in positions of leadership and to serve as a foundation to uplift them each into successful school years. This service’s theme, “How Do You Lead?” emphasized to students their roles as leaders on campus and reminded them of why they are at Howard University to fulfill them.
Complete with traditional elements of Sunday church, such as performances by the chapel choir and a powerful sermon delivered by guest Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III, the service is not only an opportunity for students to practice faith but also to publicize their groups.
“From SOB to SOC, COAS to CNAHS, CEA or even a graduate or professional student, Howard University leaders step out into this world ready to make change for the better because we lead in faith, service and justice,” said President of the Mock Trial Team, senior sociology major, Lundyn Davis.
Student leaders each crossed the auditorium stage, receiving a rock and pin. The pin, in true Howard University fashion, symbolizes truth and service. The rock, the weight of their position in leadership. After all had received rocks and pins, President Wayne A.I. Frederick led student leaders in a pledge where they promised to uphold the legacy of Howard and to lead in service to the best of their abilities.
Student leaders have ambitious plans and high hopes for this upcoming year. Toyosi Falegan, a senior biology major and vice president of the African Students Association, is excited to establish close partnerships with other international organizations in order to produce greater representation of international students on campus. President of International Pals, Nazeer Jeffries, a junior political science major, is excited to recruit freshmen after receiving a fair amount of interest at the Student Organization Fair.
Muslim Students’ Association president Fatoumata Sankare and secretary Ninah Wallace look forward to HU Hijab Fest, the annual showcase displaying hijab fashion and highlighting beauty within Islam, which proved to be the organization’s most popular event last year. “This is a way for us to recognize our student leaders on campus, and to make sure that they know that they’re appreciated and that their leadership is very vital in the progression of Howard,” stated Clara Ekezie.
In addition to connecting the separate groups of Howard’s student body, Vice President of Student Affairs Kenneth Holmes believes that the chapel and Student Leader Commissioning Service helps to lessen the division between students and faculty.
“We really are one and we just have to become one,” said Vice President Holmes. “I think this commissioning ceremony really helps with that because we truly are here for you. And over time we need to develop a whole mantra of — in addition to ‘truth and service — ‘our students are first’ because they’re the future. They’re the future. And it’s our responsibility to give you everything we have and more.”