Civility for the Season

It’s holiday time—the time of year for me to say thank you to you—the members of the FIT community for all of your good work…for all that you contribute to our legacy and to the students whose lives are transformed within our walls. Year after year, we send thousands of eager, well-educated young people out into the world to make their mark. Indeed, the work that we do to nurture and educate them—whether as faculty, staff, or administration—is work that builds and fuels civilization.

But what can I say about the world into which they are sent. It is a frightening and discouraging place. It is a place where incivility has become the norm and disrespect for tradition and decency prevails. Here at FIT, we have tried to mitigate that trend with a civility campaign that has started to take root within the community. . Right now, the campus is filled with works of art created by faculty, staff and students that are “expressions of civility”—an extraordinary outpouring of work that interprets civility in ways that are surprising, heartening, and illuminating. It is my hope that our students have imbibed enough of its messages to help them navigate the ugliness they will inevitably encounter.

It is my hope, too, that each of us can use this season to reflect on ways that can have a leavening impact on the incivility, anxiety and vulnerability that so many of our neighbors are experiencing. So be kind, be civil, give back in some way…engage in service: it will be the best present you can give to yourself this season—and every other.

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