Our delightful campus located on 50 acres of luscious green grass surrounded by native Maryland trees, flowers and plants welcomes over 4,500 students, faculty, staff and …….a gaggle of Canadian geese. Over fifty geese have made their home at Shady Grove and some would think they own the place because they roam around with more swagger than Kanye West. “Late for class?”- Here, let me just lay down in the middle of the road. “Is this parking lot for cars?” – Nope, geese only. The audacity of our feathered friends might have led to some moments of frustration on occasion but here at USG we celebrate diversity and tolerance, human or not. On my mission to better understand Branta Canadensis, the species of wild geese most common to North America, I discovered that these majestic creatures possess the same values and qualities championed by our students and faculty. Amicable, loyal, caring, helpful are the best traits with which a goose is identified. Geese are very affectionate and kind-hearted to the other members in their group, just like our students on campus we reach out to one another, develop friendships, and help each other succeed. During flight when one of the members falls sick or wounded some of the flock will withdraw from formation and stay with the sufferer goose till it recovers to fly again. For students, our long flight begins at the beginning of each semester and at any given day you will find us working together in group study rooms in the library where through team work we enable ourselves and our classmates to excel. When geese are in formation during flight the group honks to encourage those in front to maintain speed and when the leader tires another steps up to take the guiding position. To the current students reading this, how often have you led in a group study or project and felt exhausted to the point of surrender to later find the support of a friend arising to the occasion to carry you through? At USG we have built a community that doesn’t allow anyone to fall through the cracks. Our dedicated faculty and friends at the Center for Academic Success offer assistance to students in need and help them reach their full potential. We are a gaggle of geese determined to reach our destination, to arrive on the podium and collect the rewards of a hard-earned long flight.
By Derek Nehls