Student recognized with the Leadership in Moral Courage Bobcat Award

Student recognized with the Leadership in Moral Courage Bobcat Award

M oral courage is the fortitude to take actions for moral reasons despite the risk of adverse consequences. It’s a trait often developed through personal hardships and challenges. It is driven by empathy and compassion for others and a desire to stop injustice or pain. 

Milo Morris with her Bobcat Award.
Milo Morris with her Bobcat Award.

It’s not just the recognition of a moral challenge and choosing how to act morally, but also following through to create change. Moral courage does not have to change the world. Sometimes the greatest acts change the world for just one person.

This past April, Georgia College granted the 2022 Leadership in Moral Courage Bobcat Award to junior psychology major Milo Morris for her courage to challenge what she believed was wrong and followed through with an open letter to create change. Morris was also awarded an academic scholarship from two anonymous donors for her efforts.

The day of the award presentation, Morris was a bit down from a challenging semester and didn’t want to attend.

“Receiving this award felt a little like imposter syndrome at first,” she said. “Now, it feels surreal getting that kind of recognition.”

The award bolstered Morris, giving her energy to finish the rest of the semester strong.

At the start of the 2021 fall semester, Morris noticed there were no COVID mandates. So, she started typing a letter out of concern.

“In the letter, I wrote that I was really upset with the expectation that I plan events, as a Community Advisor (CA) for University Housing, which are meant to draw in crowds during COVID,” Morris said. “It felt wrong to me.”

She wrote about her personal concern along with their professor’s concern of exposure to COVID.

“There was a lot going on in my head, so I just had to get it out by writing,” Morris said. “I didn't know if I was going to send the letter to anyone. I just wanted to get my feelings out and ended up writing three pages.”

The letter was sent to administration through the student complaint form. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Jim Schiffman, former associate professor of communication, asked if he could publish the abridged version for GC 360—the student news station.

“I was super concerned because I thought if this message was public, there are anti-vaxxers at the school who don't believe COVID is a big deal,” Morris said. “And I was afraid of being targeted on campus and being discriminated against by professors. But I just had to take the leap of faith to see where it would go.”  

“It's really important to not lead through dictatorship style, but to empower other people to take action. I did that in a tangible way. So, this experience helped me realize the impact I can make. It's cool seeing it in action.”
– Milo Morris

Her letter ended up going viral.

“I hoped that putting that pressure out there would help inspire change on campus,” she said.

Morris applied independent thinking and creative leadership skills she’s learned during her time at Georgia College. 

Milo Morris
Milo Morris

“This might be the boldest I've been, at least in a very visible way,” said Morris. “So, Georgia College helped me realize that I'm completely within my rights to express my opinions, as long as I do so in a way that doesn't disrespect people.”

After graduation next year, she aspires to become a counselor specializing in women with PTSD and individuals with chronic and terminal illness.

In a way, Morris gets practice now as a CA listening to concerns of students who’ve just graduated from high school.

“As a CA, I’m their role model for how a college student acts,” she said. “In my first year working as a CA, I became really close with the students enrolled in the Bridge Scholars Program throughout the building.”

With the scholarship ready to go and “good vibes” shared as the recipient of the award, Morris is ready to take on senior year.

The willingness to take action taught her to be courageous.

“It's really important to not lead through dictatorship style, but to empower other people to take action,” Morris said. “I did that in a tangible way. So, this experience helped me realize the impact I can make. It's cool seeing it in action.”