Powell BuildingOffice of the President

Letter to parents
August 2006

Dear Parents of Members of the Class of 2010:

As the parent of two college-age daughters, a freshman and a senior, I suspect we share many joys and anxieties at this stage of our lives. This is a time of great transition for our families—both for our students and for us as parents! I write to address candidly some serious subjects about college life for your consideration and reflection, with the hope that you, in turn, will invest some time this summer engaging your student in conversation about joining the Elon University community.

Drinking on Campus

The Elon University campus is a transformative place. It is a constant thrill to watch students grow intellectually, spiritually, artistically, athletically, emotionally, and in many other ways. The university experience offers wonderful opportunities for students to continue to discover their talents and their places in the world. In this context of witnessing students develop to their full potential, it is heartbreaking to see a young life take a sudden, dramatic, and tragic turn. Almost always, the abuse of alcohol—binge drinking—plays a major role in such a life-changing event.

I ask you to address or re-address these key points with your son or daughter this summer:

  • Drinking a large quantity of alcohol in a short period of time can lead to hospitalization or even death. Nearly every college campus in the nation, including Elon, has faced situations in which students have been rushed to the emergency room with life-threatening blood alcohol levels. Drinking shots of alcohol in a short span of time is extraordinarily dangerous.
  • The combination of alcohol abuse and sex is especially dangerous territory for young people and can result in emotional trauma, sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancy. Alcohol is often associated with sexual assault and acquaintance rape, but it is never an excuse for such acts of violence. Please talk with your son or daughter about how excessive alcohol use can lead to incidents that might change the course of his or her future.
  • Your student will be responsible for budgeting 168 hours each week. Because alcohol consumption is negatively correlated with academic success, the more time your student spends using alcohol, the less likely he or she is to achieve his or her academic goals. Together, we want to stress that students must give first attention to their academic work at Elon and then plan to use additional time engaged in constructive and enjoyable campus activities.
  • I believe that unlimited discretionary spending is harmful to young people and to the campus environment as a whole. If you support your student’s entertainment and social expenses, please set a reasonable budget and ask your son or daughter to live within it.
  • Your son or daughter will soon be joining a very special community at Elon. You are influential adults in their lives, and I ask your help in communicating a basic tenet of citizenship—that the individual actions of each Elon student, both in the classroom and in personal relationships, affect many other members of the community. Encourage your son or daughter to be a builder of community at Elon through constructive actions and behaviors.

Upholding Values in the Internet Age

During the upcoming academic year, we will place a great deal of emphasis on the Elon academic and social honor codes, including a ceremony in early September for the entire Class of 2010 that will speak to the values that are foundational to our community. We will engage our students in conversations on how these values apply not only in traditional settings such as the classroom, residence halls, and social interactions, but also in the use of technology. Technology is ubiquitous in the lives of young people today and presents marvelous new opportunities for communication, community building, information management, and for enhancing teaching and learning. Well over half our first year students are already getting to know their roommates and classmates through Facebook, MySpace, or other online social networks. Unfortunately, all colleges and universities, including Elon, have experienced instances where students have been unaware of the consequences of posting personal information in the public domain or have misused technology in ways that violate the values and honor codes of the university.

With regard to emphasizing ethics and personal responsibility in the use of technology , Elon will emphasize four values with the Class of 2010

  1. Safety. Students must be careful to guard their own safety and privacy and that of others in the Elon community, particularly in on-line communities such as Facebook.
  2. Caretaking. Students are afforded a great privilege to share the technological resources of the University and must not engage in activities that leave these resources vulnerable to abuse or disruption.
  3. Originality. A university community values the originality of thought and ideas and giving proper credit when using the work of others, including all digital texts and images.
  4. Civility. Students should be courteous and respectful in all communications and conversations, electronic or otherwise.

Your support as parents in reinforcing these values and principles will help us maintain a safe and healthy campus environment, which is essential to learning and to personal growth. I urge you to discuss the contents of this letter with your son or daughter in the weeks leading up to the transition to campus.

I look forward to greeting you personally in August at the New Student Convocation, the next step in your student’s journey to adult independence.


Leo M. Lambert