Professor Byron Plumley reflects on importance of putting ideals into action

Dr. Byron Plumley has spent the last 24 years helping Regis students explore social justice issues in the classroom and community. Plumley retired from teaching in spring 2013, but will continue his life’s work as Regis’ coordinator of justice education, working to ensure that social justice issues permeate the University’s curriculum and culture. recently caught up with Plumley and asked him to reflect on Jesuit values, how he tries to embody them and why it is important to do so.

Q: How do you live Jesuit values every day in your work and personal life?

A: Among several important values let me mention two Jesuit concepts that are guiding principles in my life: “finding God in all things” and “a faith that does justice.” My commitment to justice is grounded in my spiritual belief that all life is sacred. Finding God is simply to be awake and notice people and nature, and then respond with love. The work of justice is building relationships that allow life to flourish. So, every day there are opportunities to see God and do justice.

Q: Outside of teaching, how do you serve the community? Why?

A: I am involved in several activities that serve the community because I believe my commitment to the common good must be demonstrated in my actions and simply because it is the right thing to do. I am a member of Coloradans for Immigrant Rights and participate in activities to support undocumented people in our community. I also work to end the death penalty in Colorado through Coloradans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

Additionally, at our home, White Plum Farm, my wife and I share our garden as a laboratory for students to experience working with the earth.

Q: Why is it important to act on what you believe?

A: Beliefs and values only come alive through action. If I want a more just and peaceful world, I have to demonstrate my commitment through the action of my life. Without action my values and beliefs are simply wishes. I like the phrase attributed to St. Francis, “preach the Gospel always, use words if necessary.”

Put your values into action at Regis University.