What does Ut Prosim mean to you? For many new and returning Hokies, this question may seem familiar. Three years ago, I submitted an answer as part of my application to Virginia Tech. I wrote about the importance of volunteering one’s time to serve the community.

Today, I see that the scope of Ut Prosim stretches beyond my hours of community service in high school. It transcends the simple acts of lending a hand or tutoring children after school, the simple servitude that so many high school students are accustomed to.

Officially, that is what Ut Prosim means. It is not until you interact with Virginia Tech community members that you realize that it means so much more than that. It is not just about helping others when you can. It is about dedicating everything you have to the betterment of others.

Ut Prosim translates to “That I May Serve.”

The language of the motto treats service as an ultimate goal, not an action. “That I May” sounds more like an intention than it does a single action or offering. It means that you continue to build with others, raise your voice and use what you learn to better the lives of others.

Every day on campus, you have the opportunity to live out Ut Prosim. Whether it be holding doors open for other students, handing out cookies to the neighbors in your dorm or offering kind words to strangers.

Living out Ut Prosim is so much larger than these small kindnesses. Ut Prosim can be lived out through study abroad opportunities, fundraising for charity or attending philanthropy events.

Ut Prosim is running the 3.2 for 32 in April, to celebrate the lives of those taken from us in 2007.

It is walking during Relay for Life, in step with hundreds of survivors and their loved ones as you raise funds to end the fight for good.

It is raking a Blacksburg family’s lawn or painting a house all day with a group of friends, as the entire Hokie community comes together for the Big Event, a community service event that thousands of Hokies participate in, in order to give back to Blacksburg.

Living out Ut Prosim is all of those events, all of those large-scale commitments to a better world or community, and it is all of those small acts of kindness that we offer every day.

Ultimately, though, Ut Prosim is a promise. It is our motto because it signifies the commitment that we make as Hokies to serve others. As students at Virginia Tech, we have the ability to make a difference in the world. We are gifted with that opportunity during our time here, and with the ability to improve the lives of others comes the obligation to serve. 

Recommended Stories