Respeito. Tahuron. Respekt. How do you say “respect?”
According to the theme for this year’s Respect Week, running from Feb. 12-19, there are countless different ways.
“[Respect] implies a number of things,” said Dean of Students Ainsley Carry, who started his new position in October and has since been helping with the process of overseeing and planning this year’s Respect Week. “When deciding the theme for this year, [the committee] wanted to let students decide what respect means to them. Whether it be on the grounds of diversity, male versus female, class or financial standing, we wanted to let respect mean what it means to each person,” he said.
Respect Week is now in its fifth year at Temple. Former Dean of Students James Fitzsimmons who left his position in March 2004, explained how the concept for Respect Week was born.
“We’re trying to discuss what it means to be a respectful human being,” Fitzsimmons said. “[Six years ago] a student was shot in front of James S. White Hall and that same year a student was stabbed. These were both personal incidences that happened on the sidewalks of campus and raised issue of incivility and violence in our community.”
Fitzsimmons said these two violent incidents pushed the consideration of Respect Week into process.
According to Fitzsimmons, past Respect Weeks have focused on concepts such as anti-violence, relationships, verbal disrespect and other important topics. These concepts have been used to address different issues composing a new theme each year relating to the academic community. Each theme is geared toward making the Temple community stronger. In the past there have also been collections for a community group such as a domestic abuse group.
Respect Week has become such a success at Temple that other colleges have begun to follow their lead. After Temple representatives did a presentation on Respect Week at the Delaware Valley Student Affairs Conference, Chestnut Hill College decided to have their very first Respect Week on their own campus. Lesley Day, Chestnut Hill’s Coordinator of Student Activities and 2004 Temple graduate, explained Chestnut Hill’s take on Respect Week.
“Last year Chestnut Hill saw Temple’s presentation on Respect Week and it was something that really worked for us. We tried to make it our own and use topics that would work for our school. We adopted the theme ‘respect yourself, respect for others, respect for your environment,” Day said.
Starting on Jan. 17 and ending on Jan. 22, Chestnut Hill’s Respect Week included activities such as recycle week, a roommate game, a discussion about healthy relationships with a counseling service, and a student activities sponsored dance.
Carry emphasized that Respect Week is not the only time to show respect for one another.
“Respect should be shown all year round. I don’t want students to develop the mindset that Respect Week is one time a year. I want to squash that mindset. This is a kickoff for all year round,” Carry said.
Ciarra Black can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.