The power of giving is tremendous

I wish to thank the students of Davis & Elkins College for reminding all of us what Christmas is truly all about!

In response to a request from a local elementary school, our student government association, known as the Student Assembly, “adopted” the students of this school for the Christmas season. As this school is located in an impoverished community, our students wanted to ensure that Christmas would be a joyous time for the young boys and girls. The initiative, organization and excitement for this project began with our students and has been carried through to the glorious conclusion by their drive and big hearts. As president, I cannot be more proud nor more grateful for the tangible demonstration of the character of the young men and women that are D&E Senators.

Before the presentation to the schoolchildren, I joined a few staff members and a host of students for the gift-wrapping party. The plethora of gifts for the children, coats, gloves, toys etc., had been collected in one place, and the hot chocolate and cookies awaited the wrappers on a chilly evening. As I surveyed the group working collectively for the good of the Randolph County community, I was reminded of what I promised the parents of our first-year students just four months ago. On the day they dropped off their sons and daughters to college, I addressed them and talked about their children discovering their vocation at D&E. Vocation, which literally means “that which brings meaning to one’s life” goes way beyond job and even career. Our commitment at D&E is to provide opportunities for our students to relish the journey of life, and to discover that which fuels their passion for life.

In a room strewn with wrapping paper on that Friday night, I saw students enthusiastically participating in an act of caring and compassion. Their actions undoubtedly benefited some very deserving and precious elementary children in our area, and I am grateful for that. But equally as important, our D&E students are learning and experiencing the fulfillment of giving back to their community, and embracing our shared responsibility to each other as citizens of this country and children of God. This life lesson for our students is an important part of the transformative education offered at Davis & Elkins College. Our alumni lived these lessons and understand them well. The communities they returned to following their time at D&E have been the beneficiaries of this transformative collegiate experience.

At the heart of Christmas is a gift, lying in a manger. The giving of that gift has provided meaning and purpose to life. I thank the students of Davis & Elkins College for reminding me of the power of giving, the meaning of selflessness, and the joy inherent in embracing our common responsibility for one another. Our journey to Christmas, on occasion, needs to travel through a room of wrapping paper, Christmas cookies and caring hearts. Merry Christmas!

The journey continues. …

Chris A. Wood is president of Davis & Elkins College.