Mike the Mailman: Filled with Integrity, Community Learning and Moving Forward
"First, there is the fall, and then we recover from the fall. Both are the mercy of God." --Lady Julian of Norwich.
For the last two weeks, Happy Valley has been exposed all across the country as much different from that. I know that usually the bestselling news is, unfortunately, the negative news. I have been writing this column for more than two years now, and my goal with it has always been to write a positive, lighthearted story or perspective. I am hopeful to continue my streak this week.
We, as the Penn State and State College community now have the opportunity to show the nation the silver lining to all of these shocking allegations. Up until now, besides our football team, Penn State has been known for the millions of dollars we have raised for the Four Diamonds Fund. But within the last two weeks, we have donated more than half a million dollars to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.
Due to this unfortunate situation, we have brought awareness to the taboo topic that is child sexual abuse. I have been in this town for 42 years -- on this campus for 36 years -- and although the past two weeks have been two of the most challenging in my history here, they have offered some of the most inspiring moments for me, as well.
Along with some 10,000 students, faculty members, staff members, alumni and State College residents, I was part of a candlelight vigil at Old Main for victims of child sexual abuse. This is the university and town that I have been proud to call my home.
The riot violence and the other negative images that have been projected are not what we stand for collectively. Collectively, we are a town full of love and respect for one another, a town that both of my daughters love coming home to and a town that will take this negative exposure and turn it into positive awareness.
The students have left State College for Thanksgiving break this week, and I hope that all across the country over this Thanksgiving holiday, students, families, friends and neighbors around their dinner tables will have conversations about the situation here in Happy Valley. These conversations will include differing opinions, thoughts and perspectives, but it is my hope that all will agree on one thing:
In the wake of all of these allegations, we as a community are trying to do our best to learn and move forward.
Happy Valley will because we are a community filled with integrity. State College will because we are a town of distinction. And Penn State will uphold its "Success with honor" slogan because we are committed to the recovery.