In her 2020 Community Day address, President Debra A. Schwinn drew attention to “deep-seated fissures in our increasingly polarized society” and a prevalence of frustration between those with different viewpoints and opinions. “Anxiety is everywhere,” she noted. As a practical way forward, Schwinn offered an encouragement and added a new word to the PBA lexicon: Wordship.

This new term joins another pair of PBA traditions: Worship and Workship – the latter referring to the University’s signature community service program, initiated by PBA’s inaugural first lady Doris Moody. “Three amazing words and processes: worship, Workship and Wordship,” Schwinn said. “What a wonderful foundation upon which PBA can build.”

students walking into the sunset on campus

"Together, let’s use our words to heal and bring people together, like the healing balm of Gilead." President Dr. Debra A. Schwinn

Though the new term was coined by Schwinn, the principle behind Wordship traces its roots back to a campus-wide, student-led campaign several years prior. During the divisive 2016 election the PBA Student Government Association initiated this year-long program called Be Civil. This program encouraged students to listen well and show respect for those to whom they spoke, even in the presence of disagreement.

Schwinn encouraged the PBA community to use the present moment as a “season to lift each other up in prayer and to encourage one another. Practice speaking love,” she continued. “Tell people when they do something thoughtful that you appreciate. Express gratitude. Learn to speak in a way that brings others together and heals.”

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