September, 15, 2011

New Student Orientation

Just one week ago, approximately 3,000 students came through the Education In Zion Gallery during New Student Orientation (NSO). We prepared an event specifically for the freshmen, transfer students, Y Group leaders, and Peer Mentors who were part of NSO.

These students learned about the educational heritage within the Church through the medium of storytelling. The event consisted of groups of students coming into the gallery and then rotating to eight separate storytelling stations.

I had the opportunity to play the part of John Swenson, a student who came to Brigham Young Academy (BYA) in 1886. My story shared John’s experience of meeting Karl G. Maeser, the founding principal of BYA, and being influenced by his powerful example. I told my 90-second story 108 times throughout the three days the gallery participated in NSO.

Sharing John’s experience that many times made it clear to me that one righteous individual can have a powerful influence for good in our lives. It encouraged me to pay attention to the good around me as well as look for opportunities to serve the people in my life.

Collectively, the gallery educators told eight separate stories about using our talents, abilities, and education to serve others. These stories showed how sacrifice and dedication from many individuals have made the Church Education System what it is today.

The gallery message illustrates the gospel principle that learning is for the whole soul, the spirit as well as the intellect, and shows the results that can come from diligent study and service. Not only does Brigham Young University seek to teach this principle, it also offers the invitation “Enter to Learn, Go Forth To Serve” to anyone entering its grounds.

Nearly 3,000 students were able to get a sampling of the gallery during NSO. This experience showed me the power and meaning of the message presented in this gallery. Physically, it is one of the most beautiful locations on BYU campus, and I encourage you to come enjoy the atmosphere and be reminded of the aims and purpose of this great university.

– Jared Gay, Public Relations Major and Education in Zion Gallery Educator