My wife and I had left the familiar behind when we left New York for Washington, D.C., but the risk was greater, possibly, when we moved our family in the summer of 2012 to come join the University of Indianapolis community. Of course we were more or less pushed out of the nest—a big storm blew through D.C. the night before we left, and a tree fell on our house. But we were eager to become a part of the University family and chose to live in the University Heights neighborhood on the southeast side.
“Virtually everything we do as individuals, and as institutions—every leap of faith, every labor of love—includes some measure of risk.”
I believe UIndy has a responsibility to make our community a better place, and we can do that better if I am a neighbor, with a neighbor’s feel for what the issues are. There are well-documented challenges on campus and off. Local business leaders have assumed a good deal of risk to reinvigorate the nearby Gateway Corridor. Our students are committed to getting a college education in a rocky economic climate with a shaky job market. Higher education is facing new challenges of relevance, access, technology, and more. And UIndy is aggressively investing its time, talent, and treasure right now to address those issues and many others, internal and external.
Virtually everything we do as individuals, and as institutions—every leap of faith, every labor of love—includes some measure of risk. And there’s probably a strong correlation between how much we risk and how great is the payoff. But I think it’s important not to overlook the other part of that equation. Perhaps the greatest danger is in not making those leaps.
“Maybe we should look at risk as a tool for resisting the status quo or, even worse, decline.”
Maybe we should look at risk as a tool for resisting the status quo or, even worse, decline. It’s calculated risk that makes us focus, that makes us strive: we have to carefully identify the problems at hand, then weigh the consequences thoughtfully before we take action. Risk requires us to work closely together, which in turn lessens the danger that we will act recklessly and veer off course.
Indianapolis has a terrific history of taking calculated leaps of faith—forming a unified government, constructing major league sports venues, creating White River State Park, to name just a few—but these developments came with a great deal of forethought, planning, and collaboration that helped ensure their success. Risk is crucial; there is no reward without it.