04 December 2012

Q&A with the President's Council at Southern Virginia

I've been trying to find statements by Elder Sybrowski since his becoming the president of Southern Virginia University to get a feel for the kind of president he will be and his priorities, but the one time he was scheduled to speak at one of the weekly devotionals just happens to be a devotional that wasn't posted on their website. Hopefully that will be remedied in the future. In the mean time, I recently discovered that on 17 April 2012, the President's Council at Southern Virginia University had a Q&A session with students. The audio is available on the SVU Blog "The Scoop" at the following link:

http://scoop.svu.edu/qa-with-the-presidents-council

This is a rare opportunity for those of us who are not at SVU to hear the then president-elect speak of his vision for Southern Virginia. Below are some notes I took from the discussion found during minutes 8 - 23.

DISCLAIMER - THIS IS NOT AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT

Tyler McKay asks if there is going to be a general theme for the upcoming year. President-Elect Sybrowski replies that the theme should be the student's theme, "because that's what a leader-servant is" but then goes on to speak of his vision for SVU.

[Southern Virginia University] is the future of educating Zion. This model is the future of educating Zion.

For educating Zion this [BYU] model that the Church has embraced, has embarked upon is not the model of the future.

There won't be more BYU's There won't be a BYU of the East. At least it's not planned right now. The prophets can do whatever prophets want to do and we will sustain whatever they do. But in today's environment the vision of the Brethren in educating Zion is that they are doing what they are going to do in educating Zion.

The vision that we have is to create this as the model for educating the members of the Church and non-members of the Church, not only in North America, but where appropriately throughout the world.

It's incumbent upon everybody here, the students and we who sit here in front of you to get this model right so that this model is replicable and sustainable

We've got another year or two to do that. We're that close, and being that close we're really quite excited. But lest you think we're planning for more Southern Virginia's in other areas, we're not. There will come a time for that. Our focus, diligent focus is here and now on this campus.

We have a sacred responsibility to become self-reliant.

Now that's number one.

Physical Facilities.
We are actively seeking donors for new physical facilities.
We also need to and have a responsibility to fix-up our current facilities.

Raise Professorship Money
We need to create an environment where the consecrated service can still be consecrated, but the sacrifice doesn't cut so near to the bone.
 
Scholarships
We need to endow scholarships so they are self-sustaining. Scholarships off-set part of the cost of the education, and we need you to give back to the institution.

Follow-up Question

What can we students do?

1. Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bear witness that He is the Christ, and look for opportunities to do that. We are that spirit and need that spirit.

2. Study, do well, and graduate so you can do well in society. Keep the commandments. Marry well and pursue the goals Heavenly Father has for us.

3. Set up organizations to clean up current facilities. Start with your own living space, and then help out with other places on campus.

4. Do those things, and then there will come a time in your life when you are in a position to do what you can for the institution. My recommendation is you ought to do it.

Acting President Whitehead added:

5. Tell a friend and have them come back with you next year.

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The priorities outlined in the foregoing vision of President Sybrowski can definitely be seen in the new funding campaign for Southern Virginia University. True to the university's mission statement, President Sybrowski appears committed to a model that can be reproduced for the benefit of Latter-day Saints in other parts of the world, which has always been a personal passion of mine.

However, what most impresses me about his answers is his sincerity. He wasn't making a prepared statement. Listening to him I really did get a sense of his commitment to the Gospel. Not just his commitment, but also his conviction that the most important thing students can do to help Southern Virginia is to live the Gospel.

The meeting was mostly business, and addressed concerns of students, but the section identified above would be worth listening to for anyone interested in LDS education in general, and the future of Southern Virginia in particular.

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