Values Commitment Steering Team

Values Commitment Report 2013-2014

Stetson University Values Matrix

This past year was dedicated primarily to follow-up on initiatives from the previous year:

Recommendations from the Cultural Credit Task Force were forwarded to U.C.C.A.P. by President Libby. Members of the task force included representatives from the undergraduate college/schools and the College of Law. John Pearson distilled the recommendations into a one-page proposal via request of Provost Paul and the U.C.C.A.P. Steering Committee. The document and recommendations have been forwarded to the deans for university-wide conversation. It is hoped that a university-wide requirement with well-defined parameters and an easily maintained record keeping system can be in place early next year.

In regard to the VCST's recommendations on health and wellness: Water bottle refill stations have been installed in the Hollis Center, the CUB and Presser Hall. The Hollis Center station is up to 19,000 water bottles saved. The College of Law has had water bottle refill stations in place. Furthermore, a contract is being reviewed for fresh food vending machines on the DeLand campus, as well as at the Tampa Law Center. In addition, a contracted, part-time nutritionist is regularly on campus in DeLand through Chartwells. She holds open hours for consultations and events, and she will visit the College of Law to serve their campus needs.

With reference to spiritual and religious inclusion, Stetson University hired an assistant director for interfaith initiatives based in DeLand, and we hope she will be able to facilitate the implementation of many of the task force recommendations. More interfaith events have already been added, including the taping of two NPR programs of Friends Talking Faith. A plaque with a very brief statement above the main entrance to the Lee Chapel in Elizabeth Hall reads, "We come together with our many beliefs, faiths, and understandings and celebrate our shared humanity and collective search for truth, peace, and harmony." The speaker for Values Day 2014 in DeLand will speak on "contemplative prayer" and a space for reflection/meditation/prayer is still under consideration in the master plan for the new Student Union. The College of Law will continue to promote values during Values Day 2014 on the Gulfport campus as well.

The $2,500 annual Environmental Sustainability Fellowship has been awarded to incoming undergraduate student Sarah Coffey from Bradenton, Fla. The fellowship is serving as a pilot program prior to developing and funding fellowships which include other values areas. This type of fellowship/scholarship is a priority in the comprehensive campaign and donors are being sought to further develop this model.

There has also been progress in terms of bringing Stetson University's investment policies into better alignment with its new tobacco-free policies. An announcement concerning the details of this will no doubt be forthcoming.

A great deal of work was also done on a set of recommendations regarding environmental responsibility under the leadership of John Jett but they will not move forward until they have been further clarified.

Extensive planning has been underway for months in preparation for Values Day 2014 in DeLand, led by a group that includes Yolany Gonell, Savannah-Jane Griffin, Leila Roach and Robert Sitler. Bob Bickel and Tammy Briant will coordinate Values Day 2014 on the College of Law campus. There has been strong student involvement in these efforts.

Our work this past year was greatly hampered by changing personnel, as well as sabbaticals by members of the steering team. In the vitally important area of global citizenship, the steering team had only one co-chair in the fall semester and no co-chair at all in the spring. New members of our team for the upcoming year are:

  • Felisha McCaster, registrar at the College of Law
  • Savannah-Jane Griffin, director of the Center for Community Engagement
  • Colleen Price, director of the Office of Wellness and Recreation

We are now at full strength to continue our important work.

Respectively submitted,

Robert K. Sitler
Values Commitment Steering Team Leader