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The Blue & Gray Press | April 21, 2018

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Chalkboard project lets students define honor and service

The University of Mary Washington’s Center for Honor, Leadership and Service hosted the Chalkboard Project from March 10 to March 21. The project allowed students to answer short prompts pertaining to honor, leadership and service on several chalkboards that were placed on Campus Walk, between Lee and Trinkle Hall.
The center used this project as an interactive way to motivate students to voice their values through written word. The bare, eight-foot plywood chalkboards donned several incomplete prompts such as “I will make the world a better place by…,” “Leadership means to me…,” “Honor means to me…” and, lastly, “Before I graduate I will…” The chalkboards were almost completely filled with student reflection and comment by the end of the day.
Junior business major Jasmine Rice, answered the prompt with, “I will make the world a better place by…” with “reaching out and helping those who are less fortunate than me.”
“I think the project was an excellent way for the UMW community to have an opinion on honor, leadership and the world,” said Rice. “It was another way to inspire and motivate the community to live up to not only what they wrote, but maybe even become the leaders and have the honor that others wrote about.”
Students hope to see the project return in the following years.
“I think the project should definitely happen again. It was a way to socialize with others, and it brought positivity to the campus,” said Rice.
Several other students wrote “Being a good leader” or “Serving other people.” For the prompt “Honor means to me…” students wrote, “Loving yourself” and “Respecting others.” “Before I graduate, I will…” was answered by one student with “Backpack through Europe on my own!”
One student wrote that they will make the world a better place by being like Beyonce.
UMW’s Chalkboard Project was inspired by Taiwanese-American artist Candy Chang. After she lost a loved one, Chang created the project ‘Before I Die,’ a platform for people to publicly share their personal aspirations. The original project was started in New Orleans, Louisiana and gained notable recognition. It has been recreated over 400 times in 60 countries and 25 languages.
Chang, a Columbia graduate recently published her book about the project through St. Martin’s Press.
The project was spearheaded by UMW students Chelsea Kopf and Kimberly Slater. Kopf and Slater are student aids at the Center for Honor, Leadership and Service.
In addition to the chalkboard, the Center also displayed the “Leaf,” a 100% electric car that was donated by Pohanka Nissan to the center.
“This shows community involvement, impact, and sustainability,” said Kopf.
After the first day of the project, the car was moved off of campus walk.
The Center, located in the basement of Seacobeck, aims to prepare students to be “engaged global citizens, leading fulfilling lives grounded in the values of honor, leadership, and service,” according to the Center’s vision statement.
The center sponsors workshops and events to engage students and spread their message.
With this project, UMW is shedding light on the importance of the school’s commitment to uphold values in order to inspire current students, incoming students and the community.