Grits, sweet tea, and football!  It’s a Southern Thing.

Fall semester is officially here. Although the fall equinox is still a few weeks away and 90 degree temperatures remain, make no mistake, the seasons have changed. Last Friday’s Dancin’ on Dixie celebrated the end of summer break and ushered in another exciting academic year at Tech.  The energy was amazing; everyone appeared to have a great time.  It was fun to watch old friendships being renewed and new friendships being created. It felt like a real community.

Tennessee Tech is a genuine example of what’s good and truly special about a university campus.  Social media’s power fuels how we all communicate, but it cannot create the sense of community routinely enjoyed on this campus. You are a part of something larger than yourself—a community of scholars, both faculty and students, linked by a common purpose to create and learn and share.

As I participated in Great Move-In Day, Dancin’ on Dixie and Freshmen Convocation, I saw countless examples of students, faculty and staff unselfishly giving their time and muscle to assist the newest members of the TTU community.  I witnessed 2,000 former strangers take the Oath of Integrity and become bound as the Class of 2016.  We listened intently to Liz Murray (author of Breaking Night) reveal the power of asking yourself, “What if?” and believing “Life takes on the meaning that you give it.”

During the coming weeks and months, we will have more opportunities to enhance our community.  However, it will only be as good as we choose to make it.  What you can choose to do is take your talent, your voice, your energy or if nothing else, your enthusiasm, and get involved. Many wonderful and creative events are literally going on every day on this campus.  Although it is impossible to participate in all of them, please take advantage of every opportunity you can.  It will not only enhance your educational experience, but just as importantly it will continue to build that community of scholars capable of taking on any challenge.

And, oh yes, football.  We do love our college football in the South, but I also realize that not everyone is an avid sports fan or knows a fullback from a linebacker.  Still, I’m asking you to choose our opening football game as an opportunity to support our Golden Eagles.  We’re coming off an Ohio Valley Conference championship season in 2011 with great optimism about repeating this year.  The game kicks off this Thursday at 7 p.m.  I encourage everyone to come support your team and create memories.  Join a tailgate, eat a hotdog, wear your school colors, listen to the marching band, cheer on the Eagles, and most of all enjoy this awesome Tennessee Tech community.  Yes, it’s a Southern thing, but more than that it’s a Tech Thing!

Enjoy the video.

GO EAGLES!