The Compass Friday, Novembers, 1995 5 i^r ~ % VC v-. ' "'-',^/ ’Sfe' ;i'" "J' . ■* 'n3pi^ /•''- '* ./••'t'^''."’.'' - J ■'-‘r 1^.,, _ .; #■. -I’ fi \ i ECSU freshman hold the “flames of wisdom” during Fall Convocation Candtelighting Ceremony. Held every fall, this tradition is a memorable experience for incoming students. photo by Jamle Jordan Chancellor Burnim urges freshmen to ‘remember why you are here’ by NaKeisha Sylver "Why are you here?" With this simple question ECSU's In terim Chancellor, Dr. Mickey Bumim, began his address at the Freshman Candlelighting/Fall Convocation ceremony on Sept. 24,1995. To dramatize his question Bumim told a story of two men who went with a third man to catch a train following a night of drinking. The men arrived at the train station only to discover that the train was leaving the station. One of the men jvmiped aboard the train, and another grabbed onto it and was pulled aboard. The third man didn't make it onto the train at all. When an observer, who saw the man laughing, asked him why he was laugh ing, the third man responded with, "The joke is on the other fellows. They just came to the train station to see me off!" "They had forgotten why they were there," Bumim said, to the chuckling crowd. "What is the sigruficance of your being here at ECSU? Why are you here?" While the members of ECSU's class of 1999 pondered this question, Bumim continued: "I can almost hear some of your responses. 'It's a requirement for my class. Or I need a marketable skill.'" Burnim suggested, however, that the students' purpose for being at ECSU went deeper than that. "Our individual purpose may be in extricably linked to the purpose of this 104-year-old institution," he said, add ing that the school's mission statement challenges the University "to provide a challenging and supporting environ ment to prepare students for respon sible leadership in a constantly chang ing world." Bumim discussed social ills facing the planet, such as poverty, racism, sex ism and "wars that pit brother against brother." These are the challenges which threaten our civilization, he added. "That is why we are here," Bumim concluded. "Our ultimate goal is the preservation and survival of our civili zation." Burnim charged ECSU's freshman class to accept the responsibilities and challenges which face them at ECSU and in the world beyond. "What you get out of your experience here is in direct proportion to what you put into it." He urged students to look beyond material gain and narrowly defined goals, and to consider their obligation to the larger society. "In life every man has twin obliga tions to his parents, wife, children, his people, his community and his coun try," said Bumim, quoting South Afri can President Nelson Mandela. "Real leadership always exacts a price." The Interim Chancellor also issued a challenge to ECSU's faculty: "Faculty, we are here to prepare our students for responsible participation in leader ship." Following the address, members of the freshmen class had an opportunity to demonstrate their capacity for leadership. Monique Boyce, Mark Mwaura, Ronel Brewer, Chashia Washington, Santiel Creekmore, and Shina Hemingway conducted the ritual of lighting their candles. The candles rep resented hope, awareness, youth, beauty, truth, faith, love, and the eter nal flame of wisdom. The students ex changed poetic dialogue with SGA President James Cherry. "It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness," said Cherry. "Yes, light a candle," said Boyce. "That sounds good, but even a small flame caimot be made of nothing. What have I to give?" Freshmen participants said they were touched by the ceremony. "It was better than I expected be cause I left with knowledge," said Tonia Spmill, a freshman from Edenton, NC. "I came expecting nothing, but I left with something." What some freshmen remembered most about the ceremony was Vice Chancellor Helen Caldwell's admoiu- tion about returning to their dorm rooms with their candles still lit. "Traditionally, only those students who arrive at their dorms or homes with their candles stiU lit are supposed to graduate with the rest of the class," said Caldwell, with a smile. "I just hope I can make it to the dorm with my candle lit," said Chastity Kinsay, of Enfield, N. C.