You must construct your own social lives. You must decide when to go out, when to come home, and with whom to associate. No one can make these choices for you, but always remember that your choices do impact others. You do not exist in a vacuum. If you choose to break the law or hurt yourself or someone else, be prepared to face the consequences.
It is your responsibility to care for others in our small community as well. If someone is physically hurt, regardless of the cause, you should bring him or her to the health center or call campus safety immediately. A responsible person will take care of someone first and worry about the potential consequences later. If you choose to stand aside as an observer, you are not innocent. If you witness something that you know is wrong but do not intervene, you are responsible as a co-conspirator. Have the courage to follow your own beliefs.
It is also time for you to make decisions about your spiritual and ethical life. This cannot be viewed as a separate sphere apart from your daily living; rather, every day you live, your life is integrated with your spiritual being. Part of the next four years will likely involve a deeper exploration of your faith and your beliefs. It is my hope that you will be thoughtful in this pursuit. When you find yourself in an ethical dilemma, I hope you will be reflective and think about your own beliefs and values before making a decision.
I ask each of you to live responsibly as part of our community. This also means we need to care for our environment. The physical condition of our community speaks volumes about its nature. This includes keeping the campus and the surrounding neighborhood clean and safe. We live in a beautiful place and it is our collective responsibility to keep it that way. When you see wrappers, papers or cans on the ground, pick them up and put them in the nearest trash can.
Your biggest responsibility is to decide what you wish to get from this place and then see that you get it. This encompasses all spheres of your life, from the classroom to the dining room. It includes your own maturing process. It also includes beginning to identify what it is you wish to do when you leave here, which I promise you is just around the corner. You are one of the brightest and most distinguished classes ever to enter Muhlenberg. You have all kinds of futures in front of you▄glorious futures with glorious adventures. I wish I were one of you, with my life before me. Take the road to responsibility. Take it and you will find that the dividends in terms of the kind of person you are and what you do in the future will be greatly enhanced. We want this college to be an ethical college. We want it to be a decent college with decent young women and men as its students, but we also want you to come to a definition for yourself as to what these terms mean.
The road to responsibility is there for you to take and I promise you, we will be on the same road with you. Have courage.