As students of BYU-I, developing holistic love for those around us is not a new concept. We know as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints how Christ demonstrated service and compassion to all through love, regardless of whether they supported or refused him.
Love is the first principle of the idea of Student Living. Having love for God broadens our capacity to show and feel love for others, even though, to quote the director of student housing, we won’t “exist in a theoretical realm of perfection” by showing and feeling love one time. Instead, it will be actualized in the “way we live together in the face of reality,” having to repeatedly, lovingly address difficult situations.
With Student Living in BYU-I apartments, the goal is not to gloss over problems with “love” as an ideal standard and leaves problems unfinished, but the goal is having a method of working through problems to find peace and solutions. Showing genuine love means that discussions will be less shouting and more understanding, and acts of service will be done out of kindness and not begrudgement or spite.
In Student Living, shared responsibility doesn’t mean having each roommate take turns loading and unloading the dishwasher, although that’s not a bad idea. It means acknowledging that we each have a responsibility to each other and to ourselves to honor our commitments, whether religious, familial, or scholarly, and a shared responsibility to encourage one another to fulfill our commitments and covenants. It is built off of the first principle as roommates have shared the responsibility to behave with integrity due to love for God and His children.
The responsibility that roommates share is support and strength for one another to create a household where you are comfortable needing help, as we all do, and are comfortable giving help, which we all can.
Mutual respect is esteem between two people created by someone’s intrinsic value as a person. Having mutual respect between you and your roommates will allow you to see each other as people, and as children of God, instead of as annoyances or interruptions. This third principle of Student Living is further developed when the first principles of love and shared responsibility create a relationship between you and another.
Through mutual respect, people can identify what makes others unique as people without picking pieces to dislike. A temple representative speaking to the student housing director explained that people are like sunsets: when you see them, you note and accentuate the positive parts instead of wishing there was more to appreciate. Viewing people in this way, acknowledging that they won’t be perfect but will be human, removes labels and stops a lot of the disrespect and unnecessary criticism that comes with introductions.