Extra Mile

Awards are given to community partners for extra mile efforts in providing safe, meaningful, and available service sites for students.

Students are recognized for choosing to give time to service that otherwise could be used for academics, social pursuits, or jobs.

Faculty and staff are recognized for going beyond the pedagogy of classroom learning, and encouraging students to serve and apply outside the classroom in service learning.

Origin of the phrase “Extra Mile”

The expression “the extra mile” refers to acts of service for others that go beyond what is required or expected. The expression probably comes from the Bible, when Jesus declares in hisSermon on the Mount, “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Matthew 5:41(NASB))

The verse is a reference to the practice of “impressment” which, among other things, allowed a Roman soldier to conscript a Jewish native to carry his equipment for one Roman mile (milion = 1,000 paces, about 1,611 yards or 1,473 metres)[citation needed] — no easy task considering a Roman soldier’s backpack could weigh upwards of 100 pounds (45.4 kg). The editors of the New Oxford Annotated Study Bible have suggested that going the second mile would perhaps spare another from such compulsion.

Under the law, an impressed individual could leave the burden at 1 mile. Jesus taught If a man refused to do this duty for a soldier on demand, he could be arrested and sent to prison. It was a most unpopular law, and people naturally evaded the duty if they possibly could – so Jesus must have startled and shocked his hearers by what he said. It was just the opposite of what they usually did. To have to go one mile with all that load was bad enough, but to go another, of your own accord! That seemed ridiculous.

 

What Jesus was really trying to say was that to accept an obligation cheerfully, and even to go beyond it, is better than doing things under protest and insisting on one’s rights. To act in this way might make even a rough Roman soldier more human; treating people with generosity and forbearance might make friends instead of enemies. This is certainly the way in which Jesus himself acted towards others.

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