Student Speech by University Scholar Jaime Bernstein

Student address from Syracuse University News on Vimeo.

The human heart beats 100,000 times a day, 35 million times a year, and 3 billion times in a lifetime. With each beat blood circulates throughout the body delivering the nutrients essential to sustain life. It is thought that in all humans this blood, rich in oxygen, is red. But as Syracuse University students, we make an exception to this. Our blood, rich in ’Cuse pride, is a different color. We bleed orange.

This phrase, which began as something displayed on banners, worn on t-shirts, posted on Facebook and Twitter, now holds a more important meaning. This phrase defines how we are able to take the ideas, lessons, and values Syracuse University has instilled within us and integrate them into our everyday lives.

From the moment the Goon Squad helped us move into our dorms, our blood was beginning to change color. With each passing day, our blood has become a more vibrant orange. We now possess the ability to adapt to constant changes, like 70-degree weather in February and snowstorms in April. We know how to celebrate our successes. After a big “Orange” win, it only seems natural to run out of Chuck’s and scream down Marshall Street. We can come together as a community to cope with any loss, whether big or small. In the final four game against Michigan, we had each other to share the loss with but never stopped believing in our team. We overcame adversity by fundraising and supporting those affected by the Newtown and Boston tragedies. And almost 25 years after the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing, the Remembrance Scholars and all of Syracuse University continue to take the legacies left behind by the 35 SU students we lost, and use them as motivation to move forward as a stronger community.

We bleed orange when we make differences in the world we live in, both on campus and elsewhere. "Scholarship in Action" challenges us to integrate community engagement into our educational experience. We helped plan Relay for Life and tutored in the near Westside. We supported Greek life philanthropy events, like Kappa Carwash, built houses with Habitat for Humanity, and saved lives working on Syracuse University Ambulance. We have learned the importance of even the smallest acts of kindness, like holding the door for the person behind you or reaching out a hand for someone who slipped on ice, even though you know that person was hoping no one saw. Syracuse University creates students who put orange blood, sweat, and tears into all they do to better the world we live in.

As soon-to-be Syracuse graduates, we have not only learned from—but also added to—the history of this University. We leave behind a legacy composed of the decisions we have made and the memories we have created. We watched the doors to Haven dining hall close and the doors to Ernie Davis open as we moved in with hard hats on. We were here for the days when you didn’t need to be ID’d to get into Kimmel. Now it is harder to get into than Lucy’s or Chuck’s. We shared our campus with Shaq, Dave Matthews, Joe Biden, and the Dalai Lama. We are the last class to have spent all four years in the Big East. We have relished in it all, cheering at games, painting our faces and showing the rest of the country what it truly means to live with orange blood inside us. But what is even more important than the legacy we leave behind is that Syracuse University has taught us the importance of leaving our mark wherever we go.

Look around you and take it all in because you will forever be connected to these students sitting around you. An hour from now when we leave the Carrier Dome for the final time as students, and say goodbye to this beautiful place that has made us into the young adults we are, I ask that you never forget why our blood is a different color from everyone else’s. Remember where you came from, your roots. Wherever our futures may take us, even if our paths never cross again, we will always be a part of something incredible.

Feel your heart beating, 80 times a minute, maybe 100 by now because of your nerves and fear. With each beat, with each pump of blood for the rest of your life, what is circulating inside of you shows exactly why this University is the best place on Earth. Congratulations Class of 2013! Never stop bleeding orange.