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The Hilltop


Commissioning Service Motivates Student Leaders

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III addresses student leaders at the 2018 student leadership commissioning service. Moss also was the speaker at the 2019 service. Photo courtesy of the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel.

By Ashleigh Fields

Hebrew, Arabic and English were among just a few of the languages that drew the spirits of comfort and encouragement alive in Cramton Auditorium during the annual Student Leader Commissioning service on Sunday, Sept. 8. A special sermon from Rev. Otis B. Moss III left students feeling empowered to work collectively within their realm of leadership and respective organizations.

“As Howard University student leaders, we truly must work together, and fight for what we believe in ‘by any means necessary.’ Reverend Moss encouraged all of us to do just that and his sermon this morning realigned my focus on servitude and leadership which challenged me to not take for granted God’s plan and intervention that led me to this incredible University,” said Howard University Student Association (HUSA) Director of Community and External Affairs William Pugh.

This year’s service had a theme of, “#AnswertheCall,” which charged the attendees with the task of leading in correspondence to the University’s motto, “Truth and Service.” With over 100 students in attendance, the essence of companionship was evident, especially among the organizations who helped plan and promote the service.

“The goal of the service is to give students the opportunity to see the diversity within student leadership and also allow them to see the wealth of organizations we have to offer here on campus,” said President of Chaplain Assistants Glenn Vaulx.

Although the service is hosted by the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel in coordination with the Chapel Assistants of Howard University, the Howard University Student Association (HUSA) and the Office of Student Life and Activities, there were a wide range of organizations in attendance. Some of them included The First Family, Ladies of the Quad Social Club, Deeply Rooted and the National Council of Negro Women. 

“Representing my organization at Chapel today was a humbling and rewarding experience. Knowing that I get to be a part of an organization with such a rich history of serving and uplifiting the community inspires me to strive for greatness” said National Council of Negro Women Howard Section President Kaylah Clark.

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Striving for greatness was at the center of Rev. Moss’ message. Throughout the service he spoke of using available power despite a temporary position to be a catalyst for change. After the sermon, he welcomed student leaders to cross the stage to receive two inspirational items, a rock and a pin. The pin symbolizes truth and service while the rock symbolizes the weight of their position as a leader. In addition to motivating the student leaders on campus, Moss also encouraged those without titles to work hard within their role.

“Be creative, fight for change, and use his time to explore new possibilities through leadership and always be a servant leader with a moral compass,” said Moss.“You already have the power, it is within you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and the power you find isn’t on the outside, it’s already on the inside.”


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