Wednesday, October 29, 2014
This last Saturday, Evin and I participated in the ninth annual Great Pumpkin Race and Youth Challenge. It was a beautiful day, and as we pulled into campus, the fall colors were amazing, showing autumn’s last gaudy flirt before winter arrives in force. As we drove around the loop to the north side of campus where the race was to begin, we noticed the carved pumpkin event put on by Shelly Wright and the Over 60 and Getting Fit class (they set a new world record for the Guinness Book of Records with well over 1,300 carved pumpkins!). We saw kids going in and out of the gym area, enjoying events put on by over 30 clubs coordinated by the CSI Interclub Council, engaging children in science and arts. We saw preparations being made near the CSI Evergreen Building for the 5K Zombie Run/Walk, a fundraiser for the Canyon Ridge High School cross country team, starting later that evening. Across North College Road at the HSHS Building, the Magic Valley Health Fair was in full swing, the grounds there packed with participants, the parking lots full to overflowing. The Times-News presented the event, and it was sponsored by St. Luke’s and supported by over 50 vendors. The Culinary Arts Program was preparing post-race chili and cornbread in the Desert Café. Across the campus in the CSI Gym, the CSI volleyball team was preparing for their afternoon match against Salt Lake Community College, and the softball team was scrimmaging on the field.
We finally found a parking space on the north side, and as we walked to the start of the Pumpkin Run, I thought how wonderful this day was! What a marvelous opportunity to know campus was so alive with the community of all ages and stages, CSI students and faculty all involved in service to some aspect of the community in Twin Falls.
Another topic has been on my mind lately - Election Day next Tuesday, November 4th. Some years ago, I attended a lecture by the professor and author Azar Nafisi, an Iranian writer and professor of English literature. She wrote her powerful best-selling novel Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. She has resided in the United States since 1997 and in 2008, she became an American citizen. In speaking to an audience of several hundred people from all over the country, she opened by asking this question: "What do the words, 'We the people' mean?" She spoke eloquently about how those words are the very foundation of America, words that many people around the world cannot conceive, cannot realize because in so many places, there is no "we the people." For Professor Nafisi, it was a tearful moment when she said, "We the people" may mean more to those who cannot vote than to those who do.
I have often reflected on that lecture and its import. "We the people" is us. "We the people" stands for the opportunity each of us has to participate in governance and to be of vital service to our country. (A non-vote is a choice, to be sure, but it cedes deciding power to those who do vote.) I have often thought about how this phrase came into being, and how these words set the very foundation of our Constitution. I would ask you to also consider these words, "We the people," and I urge you to exercise your obligation as a citizen and to encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to vote on Tuesday, November 4th.
College of Southern Idaho
Office of the President
315 Falls Ave
PO Box 1238
Twin Falls, ID 83303