Behind the Scarlet Knight’s Call

After a long summer, Rutgers greeted its most involved Student Affairs members with open arms at the annual Student Leader Welcome. Rows of passionate Rutgers students congregated in the College Ave Gym, eager to see what opportunities this year had in store for them and their organizations. The Scarlet Knight’s Call was introduced to many of these students for the first time, and it set the tone for another spirited and inspirational year for students at Rutgers.

These Rutgers students came from different backgrounds and had their own unique campus stories to tell. Upon graduation, every student’s path will unfold, leading them to varied experiences and opportunities spanning the country and even the globe. But that day in the gym, all of these students were connected. They were all hardworking members of the Rutgers community, and the Scarlet Knight’s Call was meant to apply to every one of them.

The Scarlet Knight’s Call is a set of values meant to define and shape the culture at Rutgers University. Rutgers Cap and Skull Honors Society, in coordination with other organizations and departments at the university, came up with five core values that defined what it meant to be a Scarlet Knight: Authenticity, Inclusivity, Responsibility, Resilience, and Engagement.

“Student spirit is] more than just wearing a Rutgers hoodie to a football game. It’s about where we find ourselves most connected.”

On a surface level, these values appear to be pretty obvious. Who doesn’t want to be responsible and inclusive? However, the language used in this cultural code holds a deeper significance than it might initially appear to have. Members of Cap and Skull as well as members of student affairs leadership planned multiple day retreats to discuss the words and values that best represented Rutgers. They filled up boards with Post-It’s and spent many hours debating on values until they reached an eventual consensus. Feedback of other students within New Student Orientation, RUSA, RUPA, and other important student organizations around campus also played a role in the process.

Director of Major Events and Programs, Carey Loch, was one of the members of leadership who was very involved in bringing this project to light. She explained the significance of the language used in this cultural code and the way in which it relates to Rutgers students.

“The language was crafted to be real time,” says Loch. “It should pertain to anyone, no matter where they were at in their relationship with the university. It would also have an opportunity to show homage to what makes Rutgers University so special.”

Though a large group of members in the Rutgers community were involved in creating the Scarlet Knight’s Call, it was the 2016-17 Cap and Skull Honor Society class that instigated the project.

The society consists of eighteen student leaders aligned with different organizations including HOPE, sports teams, Douglass Residential College, the Tab, etc. All members of the society work collaboratively on a service project each year to benefit an aspect of Rutgers that they believe can be improved.

Jason Gaines, Cap and Skull’s Rutgers Future Scholars representative, played a key role in designing the Scarlet Knight’s Call, developing the project, and seeing the cultural code through to its completion. According to Gaines, the Scarlet Knight’s Call was designed to improve student spirit and identification with Rutgers values. In addition, he stated that the Scarlet Knight’s Call connects the student voice with the campus’ spirit.

“Student spirit is more than just wearing a [Rutgers] hoodie to a football game,” says Gaines. “[It’s about] where we find ourselves most connected… Where do we want to be [at Rutgers]?”

Going forward, the Scarlet Knight’s Call is going to be a huge part of the New Student Orientation program at Rutgers. All incoming freshmen will be introduced to the values they are expected to understand and embody for their coming years at Rutgers. It will also become prevalent to the culture and environment in student centers, residence halls, and in recreation around campus. Four years from now, every student at Rutgers will be educated on the Scarlet Knight’s Call and on Rutgers’ most important values.

To find out more about the Scarlet Knight’s Call, visit studentaffairs.rutgers.edu/the-knights-call.

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