Civility will be the word of honor this week as the campus launches Creed Week, a campus-wide initiative under the Office of the Dean of Students, taken by different student and faculty organizations to promote civility and respect in the community.
“You will see it everywhere,” said Johnell Goins, Greek Life coordinator. “We’re promoting respect among students and we’re doing it from every department so it can echo across campus.”
The initiative involves the University Police Department, the Department of Residence Life, the Office of Greek Life, the Student Government Association, First Year Initiative, the Office of University Communications and the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services.
Dean of Students Eddie Holloway wrote the original USM Honor Code under Horace Fleming Jr.’s presidency, and it later became The Creed at Southern Miss. “We thought it (was) good to look at (all the departments), to come forth with a week of civility or civility training,” Holloway said.
Associate Dean of Students Wynde Fitts supervises this week’s events and will give talks to freshman classes across campus. “It’s about making students aware of the responsibilities of being part of an institution of higher learning,” Fitts said. “It’s about being at another level in your life and your behavior goes along with that.”
Chief of Police Bob Hopkins will talk to several departments on campus about safety and civility in the university.
“Our main goal for the week is to not only promote the Southern Miss Creed but also have the student body show their support for it,” said Alyssa Kelly, SGA Cabinet chief of staff. “We are also striving to increase the respect and civility demonstrated by students.”
The SGA will be present to discuss civility in the Thad Cochran Center Monday, Wednesday and Friday and at Shoemaker Square Tuesday and Thursday.
The Department of Residence Life will distribute clothes pins printed with messages about respect. They will be passed around on campus as part of their “Pay It Forward” initiative.
The Office of University Communications will be in charge of spreading the #USMGoldenRules, referring to the ancient maxim, around social media.
The Office of Greek Life is also leading a social media campaign, encouraging members of Greek Life to post 15-second videos promoting civility and respect.
“We wanted something that stays with the students, just like a comfy reminder that they always keep with them,” said Antell Young II, president of the Afro-American Student Organization. The Office of Multicultural Programs and Services will then distribute backpack tags with messages for students to carry around campus.
First Year Initiative will teach The Creed in the UNV 101 courses throughout the week.
“The attempt is to bring about a oneness of thought and behavior relative to decorum on our campus,” Holloway said. “We feel that if we have a peaceful, safe community, (then) that can only add to the attributes of the Southern Miss community.”