What does the “Queen’s community” really mean?
The following will appear in the 2011-2012 Tricolour Yearbook produced by the Yearbook & Design Services.
Dear Queen’s Students of 2011-2012,
Welcome to your time capsule of memories for the past year. Refer to this yearbook made for you by your peers, like so many of our experiences here at Queen’s, when you have occasion to reflect on the memories of the learning and growth you undertook throughout this past year at Queen’s. Our campus is no longer 3,000 students, and this yearbook may not include a picture of everyone, nor of each of your transformative moments at Queen’s. It is a tool instead to help you re-experience the memories each of us hold by reminding us of watershed moments for our Queen’s community over this last year.
Community is often cited as the paramount Queen’s advantage. But the Queen’s community is an ever evolving entity, with our membership on campus and beyond continually in transition. The labeling of community is not a stagnant descriptor; it must be created through our own deliberate efforts: reaching out and strengthening the bonds between one another. Community must be earned, and while the first bonds are established during our time here on campus, the Queen’s community lives far beyond our Kingston locale.
Over the next few years, each of us will graduate and come to better understand the boundlessness of our community in a way that we will choose for ourselves.In addition to the friends you made while you were here, after you leave Queen’s, you will continue to meet and connect with an increasingly diverse number of those who attended or are connected to Queen’s. Some of them may become close friends, some may help you find your next job, and a few of them may inspire you to change the course of your life forever. They will not all have attended Queen’s when you did, but they will have an understanding of the way this institution can change your life. They will trust that this has made you into a person passionate about improving the course of our national community and our world, and you may feel you share a common bond or connection.
Every one of us has at least one thing in common- we all chose to spend the formative years of our undergraduate education at Queen’s. Whatever we chose to do during our time here, we each contributed to a place which we now call our Alma Mater. Having spoken to a number of alum, the meaning of this will grow with each passing year.
It was said in 1844 in Thomas Haynes Bayly that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” In fact, the full quote is found in his ballad, “Isle of Beauty,” and it reads:
“What would not I give to wander,
Where my old companions dwell?
Absence makes the heart grow fonder..”
Bayly is said to be referring to a specific place that had a special place in his heart, and in particular the people who made it so. I believe as the years pass, our perspectives will broaden and our understanding deepen regarding the importance of the transformative nature of the time each of spent here. The battles we fought and the ideas we held while here may seem small down the road, and they may not be the ideas we hold in 5 or 10 years’ time. Conversely, there may be some ideas we discovered while we were here and battles we choose to take up for a lifetime. At its most fundamental, we will each leave having learned to discover passionately and to let that learning change our lives. We learned to fight for those ideals that we find important, personal and societal, within our alma mater and beyond, and we are prepared now to defend the world with that same vigor.