Q&A: Zain Virk Looks Toward Another Successful Year for the Honor Council

Zain Virk ’18, a chemistry major from Germantown, TN, serves as the 2017-2018 Honor Council president. When he is not playing cricket on the weekends or attending to his Honor Council duties, Zain is actively involved in the Writing Center, Kinney Interfaith, Muslim Students Association, and St. John's Soup Kitchen.

What made you decide to come to Rhodes?

When I was looking for colleges, I wanted to go to a school that would give me the opportunity to grow. Because Rhodes is a smaller school, there are countless opportunities to get involved in leadership and service. Classes often are discussion-based, meaning that you and your peers are constantly in conversation with each other and with the professor over the material. I considered these aspects, as well as the fact that Rhodes was close to home, and it was a pretty easy choice!

How did you get involved with Honor Council?

I remember attending the pledge signing during my first year and being inspired by the commitment to truth and honor by the entire campus community. Later that year, during the spring semester, I was looking for ways to get involved at Rhodes, and I thought that serving on the Honor Council would be a meaningful way to do that. I was fortunate to get a position that spring and have had the honor of serving ever since.

What made you want to be in a leadership role of Honor Council?

I looked up to previous Honor Council presidents, and saw the pride they took in their work. As I was getting ready to finish my third year here, I realized that Rhodes had given me a lot, and so I wanted to give something back to the college. I felt that serving as Honor Council president would be an incredible opportunity to serve, and my conversations with past Honor Council presidents only confirmed that. 

What goals do you have for Honor Council for this year?

I hope that the Honor Council will be seen as a compassionate body working to nurture the integrity of the entire campus community. To help accomplish that goal, one of the new things we've already done this year is bring back the Community Day programming, through which first-years have the opportunity to interact with Honor Council members. Through events such as these, the Honor Council is better able to connect with new students who may not be familiar with the Honor Code. The past few Honor Council presidents did a tremendous job, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to use what I learned from them in helping guide the Council.

Our Honor System is a deeply-rooted tradition, and while some aspects of our college may change, I hope that our commitment to integrity will remain a constant. It's what sets Rhodes apart from many other places.

How has being a part of the Honor Council influenced you in your time at Rhodes?

Honor Council has taught me a lot about leadership and helped me grapple with issues of ethics, justice, and compassion. It's also offered many moments of reflection that have only deepened my appreciation for the Honor System. It's also given me the opportunity to connect and serve with other students who I might not have otherwise met

How do you think the Honor Council influences Rhodes students after their time at the college?

I think the true impact of our Honor Code is in the development of a commitment to integrity that guides students even after they leave Rhodes. It provides us the opportunity to cultivate a moral ideal that will serve as the foundation of an ethical life. While we might forget some of what we learn in our classes here, the ideal of integrity is something that will stay with us throughout our futures.

Compiled by Katherine Hancock ’19