As a Seawolf I will commit myself to the highest ethical standards. I will conduct myself with integrity in my dealings with students, staff and faculty. I will strive for excellence in my academic work and relationships. I will respect the rights and dignity of others. I will accept the responsibility to conduct myself as an ethical member of my community.”
These words represent the Seawolf Commitment, a motto which promotes safety and unity as well as excellence and responsibility on Sonoma State’s campus, not just amongst students but faculty and staff as well.
Seawolf Commitment was started in 2014 by a group of student leaders and campus life staff in response to an unidentified person writing hateful words on a student’s whiteboard in the residential community.
“This biased incident ignited a campus community discussion where the Sonoma State student body voiced their concerns about the negative experiences our students of color and other marginalized groups on campus face every day,” said Tramaine Austin-Dillon, area coordinator of Sauvignon East & Beaujolais Village West.
Austin-Dillon, as well as other staff members and eight students, met over the course of four months to discuss the concerns underrepresented students face.
“We brainstormed the best way to address our conclusions and landed on incorporating the values of integrity, respect, excellence and responsibility into all aspects of Sonoma State. In addition, we came up with four goals,” Austin-Dillon said.
Those four goals were as follows: educate the student body on the values of the commitment and have students define the words for themselves, work with academic departments and various student services to create/sustain momentum to achieve funding and university support, incorporate the Seawolf Commitment into the first year and transfer student orientation program, and provide information to students about the current SSU reporting channels should they or someone they know experience a bias incident
The motto is taught to incoming freshmen during orientation. Kaili Moser, a freshman studying pre-business, says the motto gives her a sense of unity.
“It’s nice to know that all student on campus are trying to commit themselves to the standards set by the Seawolf Commitment and that we are all there for one another,” Moser said.
Austin-Dillon would like to see the Seawolf Commitment embraced as the official Sonoma State code of conduct.
“All students should feel welcome on this campus, and my hope is that the values remind students that you need to take responsibility for what you say and how you treat people,” Austin-Dillon said.
For Moser it is a reminder to try and better herself everyday.
“To me it means that each and every day I need to try my best, to be the best student and person that I can be. It’s something that I work on everyday just like many of the people around me,” said Moser.
Austin-Dillon, who gets his inspiration from the students, wants the Seawolf Community to know that students have the ability to influence and change campus culture.
“The Seawolf Commitment is a testament to [changing culture]. Get woke. Also, the commitment applies to all aspects of being a seawolf, which includes being a student and a positive community member,” said Austin-Dillon.
“Because I know that we are all there together it does make me feel more welcome and safer on campus.” Moser said.
To learn more about Seawolf Commitment or to report a bias incident, visit sonoma.edu/biasresponse.