A little more than 400 UofL students were welcomed by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Thursday morning at the annual SOUL (Student Outreach Uniting Louisville) event. The event kicks off a day of community service around campus and the city and is sponsored by the Engage Lead Serve Board.
Fischer opened his comments by encouraging students to “really jump in and be a big part of our city,” which he noted is going through a renaissance right now, bolstered by $11 billion worth of construction projects.
“I encourage you to use bike share or to walk the city and see everything that’s going on … to see the wonderful transformation,” he said.
Fischer also encouraged students to choose to get involved during their time at UofL.
“I got involved when I was in college and it changed my life,” he said. “You’re not going to learn as much if you play it safe.”
Fischer outlined three values that drive the city of Louisville: lifelong learning, health (mental, physical and environmental) and compassion.
“Compassion is when we respect our citizens so that their potential flourishes,” he said.
Fischer also acknowledged last weekend’s events at the University of Virginia, strongly condemning white supremacy, racism and bigotry. His statements elicited an enthusiastic applause from the crowd.
“You are entering college at an extraordinary and interesting time. We need your voice,” he said. “We need you to think of yourself as more than someone who is in their second day at the University of Louisville. How do you use your new platform as a UofL student to do good? … Do something for which you expect nothing in return.”
Interim president Greg Postel, who introduced Fischer, encouraged students to ensure their service is not just a one-time event.
“I hope this is the beginning for a lifetime of community service,” Postel said. “(Community engagement) is part of the fabric of what UofL is all about.”