Editorial: Serving the community for the right reasons


We’ve all been accustomed to community service. Many of us went through the process to cross off a requirement for getting into college. Unfortunately, that’s what going above and beyond to help others has become in today’s society. Most people only do community service when forced to, which could be debated as to whether it is actually community service. Here’s why an attitude change towards what community service is all about is exactly what college students need.

Recently, students traveled to New Orleans to work with the St. Bernard Project to help with damages from Hurricane Katrina, particularly by rebuilding homes. Places like New Orleans still do not have all of the funding to fix the problems they face, giving college students the ideal opportunity to help others in a service trip.

These students have shown why it’s a pleasure and a privilege to be able to serve others in any capacity. Some students may be busy, they may have work or “better things to do,” but taking the initiative to go out with friends and explore what possibilities there are for community service will be the first step in learning what it is all about.

Participating in community service is not about staying in your comfort zone—it’s about making a difference in someone else’s world. Many people who aren’t accustomed to giving up their time for others only see one side of the cause—how community service can help their own cause. People who have altruistically chosen to habitually commit to service make their decision for those on the receiving end. People choose to help the community because of the people who truly need the help.

That special effect that we can have on others simply by putting in a little effort is the reason we should set aside time for community service. Collecting food for a soup kitchen or donating toys at a Christmas drive are good ways to start, but the direct effect that you give someone and the reaction you see on their face when you make an impact in their life is the reason people decide to help out in the first place.

The University offers opportunities to participate in community service, and there’s certainly plenty of organizations that accept help back in your hometown. We have as many opportunities as ever as college students, from helping our school, our local community, and even working with other schools at a greater scale.

Helping those who truly need the help also raises your self-esteem and happiness in the process. If you’re willing to put in five hours of service, make sure those are five worthwhile hours of work to better the lives of others and yourself in the process.

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