The theme for this year’s Celebration of Civility, “Be the Hero”, intends to empower each member of the ETSU community to cultivate an inclusive environment that honors the diversity afforded our institution and surroundings through differences in race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, perspectives, abilities/disabilities, and more. With the aims to Educate, Embrace, and Engage, these series of events serve to raise awareness around a diverse set of identities and ideas while encouraging civil discourse and active engagement as we strive to enable social justice and unity in the spaces that we occupy. It is a chance to increase our tolerance for and comfort with viewpoints or ways of life that may be different from our own, and in doing so, remind us that differences are to be valued and celebrated. Such events also capture ETSU’s commitment to fostering a respectful environment that is conducive to the success of every individual, recognizing that the collaborative spirit necessary to meet the complex challenges of today’s world requires understanding and appreciation of our differences. --Rana Elgazzar (2017 SGA Secretary of State)
Civility is about more than just politeness, although politeness is a necessary first step. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground, listening past one's preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same. Civility is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreements.