Become a champion for tolerance

The new school year has Baylor students buzzing with excitement. Between new classes and starting new friendships, the promise of a new school year brings about a new hope for students, faculty and staff alike.

This year, as the school year begins, we would like to encourage you to take this year and take ownership for yourself and for your peers, and to be a champion for tolerance.

Granted, this may sound like an obscure phrase, but it is quite simple— be open-minded.

Over the past five years, our campus has seen an increase in the diversity of our student body. Students are coming to Baylor from all over the world, representing a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, races and religions. With this increase in diversity, comes a new skill that we all need to embrace—tolerance.

From the classroom to the dorm room to the dining hall to chapel, as Baylor students we have an incredible opportunity to learn and grow from people that show us different perspectives and experiences. You may not necessarily agree with them, but it is important that you acknowledge and respect them because they have just as much of a right to be on campus as you do. Being tolerant is not just about accepting someone’s point-of-view, but respecting it and learning from it.

This year, you can be a champion for tolerance by branching outside of your friend groups and being willing to get to know other people around you. When you’re in class discussing a new topic, you can be a champion for tolerance by not giving a snide glance to the person who is willing to share their opinion in class just because they may not speak like you. You can be a champion for tolerance by realizing that we are all equal, and standing up against inequality and injustice on campus by speaking up when you see something wrong going on. You can be a champion for tolerance by respecting others and acknowledging that we have all been blessed with the opportunity to attend this university.

Use this year to be a champion for tolerance and become a better person. Being educated should not necessarily align you with a way of thinking, but give you the tools to form your own beliefs and defend them. College is a time for growth and exploration, don’t be afraid to learn something new.