Are You a Cougar, too?

During my freshman year at BYU, one of my first glimpses of campus was the welcome sign at the school's main entrance. It read: "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve." Throughout my tenure at BYU I have seen this sign dozens of times, whether glancing at it while I made a late-night Wendy's run or passing it by as I drove onto campus. And from September 2000 to April 2005, I fulfilled the first half of this motto: I filled my mind with books and lectures; I grew mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

In a sense, BYU has fulfilled its duty to me. The school provided ample meals for my mind and provided countless opportunities for me to grow as an individual. Now it is my turn to fulfill my half of the bargain---"Go Forth to Serve."

In a 2004 BYU devotional, Vai Sikahema, who is a prominent sports news anchor in Philadelphia, expounded upon this motto and ruminated about his struggles and achievements in fulfilling his half of the deal. The main point behind his speech is this: BYU students have an obligation---perhaps even a covenant with God---to go forth and serve after graduation.

The sign at the main entrance isn't something we just take pictures of after commencement ceremonies, it's something that we need to integrate into our lives. Indeed, our BYU education is almost entirely funded by the faithful tithes of people that we have never met. Some of these people will never have the chance to go to college; they may never have finished high school. Yet they have paid their tithes with a knowledge that the money would be used where it is needed. Don't we owe it to these people to do whatever we can to use our newly-minted degrees to spread some good in the world?

What a simple phrase. "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve."

Not, "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Make Lots of Money."
Not, "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Rise Up the Corporate Ladder."
Not, "Enter to Learn and Squander Your Mind on Wasteful Activities."

Go Forth to Serve, it says. Perhaps along the way, you will make lots of money and rise in the ranks of your corporation. But first and foremost we need to remember to serve in every capacity we can. Serve at work, serve in the home, serve in the church, serve in your community, serve your country. We are a fortunate bunch, BYU alum. I hope I never forget that.