By Emma Kinghorn, Guest Columnist

We are reminded and urged a hundred times a day to give our “Love and Honor to Miami.” It’s on our shirts, it’s in our classrooms, on our website, in our student center. The motto has been driven into our heads from the day we sat down on our first campus visit, and will be until years after we graduate.

Love and Honor.

Love and Honor to who? Our professors? Our roommates? The squirrels?

Love and Honor to what? The football team? Our dorms? The seal?

Love and Honor why?

Love and Honor how?

What is Love and Honor? Is it a motto? A fundraising campaign? Or is it something more?

Love and Honor was one of the most compelling draws of Miami when I was making my college decision. That ideal, the standard to which, ideally, everyone here would hold themselves. It’s an understanding between all Miamians.

This idea, this commitment to excellence or moral decency, may be idealistic or unrealistic, but how can it truly be when we have yet to even define or decide what Love and Honor really means?

We can sit and talk about integrity, respect or even decency until we are blue in the face, but none of it really matters unless we care. Spewing flowery, optimistic phrases about the niceties and loyalty one feels towards Miamians or a campus in the middle of Oxford, Ohio is great, but shouldn’t it to be more than a motto?

In order for Love and Honor to matter, we have to care, we each have to decide for ourselves what that really means to us and in our lives. It’s not a phrase that has to exist only on this campus, or when you’re in the presence of fellow Redhawks. It can be a way of life. A sense of who you are. And, hopefully, it’s something that Miami will teach you.

To me, Love and Honor represents this: a higher standard to which I hold myself, a standard of who I want to be to others. The essence of how I approach the world, to Love and to Honor all. The decency, respect and empathy that I hope would be palpable in my interactions with everyone and anyone. For me, it’s the devotion of my education and abilities in service to others.

Miami gives us this sprawling, expansive liberal arts education, with the idea of making us better thinkers, better problem solvers, better employees. It gives us the tools, it gives us the building blocks, but Love and Honor gives us the why.

Take this education, this knowledge, and do something worthwhile with it, use it. Let the skills define what you do, but let Love and Honor shape the how, the reason. You don’t have to end world hunger, or make great leaps in diplomacy (if you do, then go you), but to make the world a better place to breathe, to live and to love for the people around you, and to do so with honor — that’s the goal.

That might not be what it means to you, but unless you know, I encourage you to find out. Search your consciousness, and put defining words to an otherwise intangible idea, let it center your education. Let it guide what you choose to do, and how you do it.

Love and Honor, my fellow Miamians. Go do something worthwhile with your lives.