Over break I returned to my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. I love Atlanta – ask anyone who knows me and he or she will say that it is all that I talk about. Returning home only reaffirmed my belief that Atlanta is one of the greatest cities in the world. However, my trip also made me realize how truly different the Northeast is from the South. There are the obvious differences such as the food, weather and accents. But perhaps what I missed the most was something I did not even realize I missed – southern hospitality.
Now, this is not to say that the Northeast is not friendly or that it is rude, but there really is nothing like the warm, genuine smiles of true southern hospitality. One might ask, what exactly is southern hospitality? It is the simple act of taking a mere few minutes out of your day to really ask someone how he or she is doing. It is standing in line at the grocery store and engaging in a conversation with the people in line or the cashier. It is smiling at people when you walk by. It is driving in traffic and letting someone in and then receiving a gesture of thanks. It is always holding the door open, saying please and thank you and blessing everyone’s heart. Southern hospitality is not only kind, it’s gratifying. Having someone express genuine interest in your life can make your whole day.
This is why I am proposing the idea that southern hospitality be spread to UR. I feel that this idea is not only possible, it is on the verge of necessary. Now I realize that not everyone can launch into a conversation with a complete stranger, but there is no harm in just smiling at someone as you walk by, to look behind you when you open a door or to say hello more frequently. These gestures, which may seem minute, can really make a difference in someone’s day.
I remember when I visited the campus as a pre-frosh, I was overcome with the friendliness on campus. Everyone was smiling and encouraging me to come here. When I did finally come here, the friendliness had not completely vanished, but it had rapidly decreased. These extensions of kindness should not be restricted to pre-frosh, but generated to the entire student body. As we head into the depths of winter with the sun becoming just a fond memory we could all use a real picker-upper.
Everyone has the potential for kindness and hospitality at their disposal and actually using it has unlimited benefits to all. I love UR almost as much as I love Atlanta. Genuine kindness and hospitality should not be just a geographical trait, but rather a way of life everywhere.
Silk is a member of the class of 2010.