The University of Virginia Alumni Association presented an overview to the Board of Visitors last week of its “Living Honor” marketing campaign. The initiative, proposed by President Jim Ryan and Rector Whitt Clement, is designed to aid students and alumni in learning about Honor and its role at the University following a student vote last year to reduce the single sanction for honor offenses from expulsion to a two-semester leave of absence.
The goal, according to alumni association President Lily West and Chief Marketing Officer Susan Klobuchar, is to build greater understanding of the Honor system and to engage members of the university community in a conversation about honor. The centerpiece is a website, Living Honor, which features video clips of students and alumni describing what the Honor system means to them.
The campaign kicked off in August, and a teaser video (shown above) was presented at the Honor Convocation in August. Additionally, the alumni association has provided an “partner toolkit” for faculty.
The concept of “honor” has changed as society has changed. What was evident from the presentation and the video clips is that the justification has shifted from the ideal of honor as a personal virtue to honor as a means to create a “community of trust.”
As Rector Whitt Clement put it, “community of trust” polls very high. The honor system is seen as an “enforcement tool” to create that community.
The new spin on the honor system, West said, “reflects the realities of today. We have to start with the value.” UVa, she added, “is a very different institution than when the honor system was created.”