In 2009 we had the privilege of working with Morningside College in Sioux City, IA to host the Pursuing Victory With Honor Summit. We greatly enjoyed working with the Morningside team, including their resident go-getter, Nancy Mounts. Here’s Nancy’s take on Morningside’s character:
The great majority of students who enroll here at Morningside College have had wide exposure to CHARACTER COUNTS! and the various components such as the Six Pillars of Character and the Pursuing Victory with Honor Summit. Having been on the staff of the college for nine years, it is my firm belief that the impact of CHARACTER COUNTS! is evident on a daily basis in student’s lives.
Service learning is a very important part of the students’ educational experience, with all involved in one way or another. For example, education majors opt to provide ongoing support for adults with disabilities, student government officers organize a program to support the personal needs of the armed forces in Afghanistan, students in campus ministry go on mission trips several times a year, football players and others made a trip to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, six hundred students and staff volunteer each year to provide needed services for non-profit organizations, and on and on and on.
Showing compassion and caring for others is part of the culture of the college. Random acts of kindness seem to occur many times each and every day. In a blinding snowstorm, a student ran outside with no coat to help an elderly man who was struggling to get into a car. Another student organized a dinner with all the trimmings for students who needed a place to go on Thanksgiving day. As a senior citizen, I personally experience random acts of kindness on a regular basis. Thousands of dollars are raised every year by various student organizations to assist in meeting a variety of needs. One example is the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity raising funds for breast cancer by manning a station in front of the student union around the clock for one week.
Leadership development is also on the rise. One of the dorms is a Leadership Academy that offers residents a variety of opportunities to develop their leadership skills. Students in the Intro to Leadership course study ethics and leadership, with many talking about and reflecting on their Character Counts programs in high school. Ethical leadership and civic responsibility are a part of the Morningside College mission statement. Our students are living examples of upholding these goals. Even though we hear much in the media about negative behaviors of college students, college students today are more focused on high academic achievement, leadership and service learning.
CHARACTER COUNTS! is alive and well on the Morningside College campus!