Students Testify on Being Faithful, Honest, and Kind at University Forum

Student Body President Benjamin Whitted

On Feb. 9, the Southern Virginia University community gathered in the Knight Arena to hear Student Body President Benjamin Whitted and students Addy Thorpe, Peyton Merwin, and Emmaline Merrill speak on the university’s Code of Conduct and what it means to be faithful, honest, and kind as individuals and as members of the community.

“Here at Southern Virginia University we have a Code of Conduct that is summarized in three words: faithful, honest, and kind,” said Provost James Lambert. “Our courses, curriculum, and interactions here are built to reinforce that cause. When you step foot on the campus, you become a Knight, and Knights love one another.”

Speaking on the preamble of the University’s Code of Conduct, Whitted highlighted its alignment with the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, loving one another, and the Church’s 13th Article of Faith, pointing out the importance of following Christ to progress in all aspects of life.

“Our combined commitment to the Code of Conduct is conducive to our community,” said Whitted. “As you live this code, you protect me, and as I live this code, I protect you. Our Code of Conduct…accepts us as we are and magnifies who we can become.”

Addy Thorpe

On the topic of faithful, Thorpe shared how being at Southern Virginia University and seeing the code of conduct in action among her fellow Knights helped her to grow and develop a stronger understanding of her faith and its meaning.

“The Code of Conduct has shaped how I think about being faithful,” said Thorpe. “It means that we strive to live a better life, knowing we’ll make mistakes. It means that we are faithful to our commitments and to our promises to each other, and recognize what promises we have made to our parents, our friends, our spouses, our school, our religion, and especially to our God.”

Peyton Merwin

Speaking on honesty, Merwin shared a fictional story of a man who was asked by the Lord to push a large boulder. After spending weeks trying to move the rock, the man asked the Lord why he was failing. The Lord revealed that he only asked the man to push, not to move the boulder, and praised him for his honesty and dedication to the task.

“Through his actions, the man had acquired confidence, diligence, work, conviction, integrity, and ultimately got to grow into all he desired to be,” said Merwin. “Honesty is a Christ-like attribute, but also lays the foundation of what the character of a child of God should be. Honesty isn’t just being straight with oneself, but likewise being true to God and those around you.”

Bearing her testimony on the power of kindness, Merrill shared how she has benefited from experiencing kindness from others throughout her life, and its ability to gather and unite, regardless of differences.

Emmaline Merrill

“Why did we adopt kindness, a seemingly simple and obvious thing, into our Code of Conduct?” said Merrill. “Because kindness transcends tribalism and division. We as Knights are unified in our love and culture of kindness here at Southern Virginia. I urge you to participate in uniting the world around you through kindness.”

The event featured a musical performance of “Where Love Is” by students Julia Evans, Abby Pennington, Shaianne Erickson, and Sabra Lott. They then accompanied the university community in the traditional singing of “Love One Another,” at the end of the event.