O, Community Service, Where Art Thou?

The Values of Community Service Are Being Left Behind

Community service has now become more of a personal service.

With the competitiveness of college application, students are scrambling to supplement their applications with all manners of extracurriculars. Community service is usually listed amongst these. But in student desperation to have a one-up on all fellow applicants and competition, the original purpose of community service is lost.

In the past few years, college applications have become a lot more competitive when it comes to showing passion, especially passion for helping others. Lists of extracurriculars dominate the pages, especially with clubs and community service. It’s gotten to be so much of an issue that there have been clubs practically designated to the task of loading high school students up with community service hours.

The National Honor Society (NHS) is listed as a community service club, though the name would not imply this.

With such projects as entering Little League tryout results or wandering beaches in search of the occasional piece of trash, clubs like the NHS have reduced community service to a mere tally of hours rather than the selfless acts of goodwill that they should be.

This is not unique to NHS, however. Key Club, while a large institution at the school, struggles to bring members to its lunchtime meetings. Many other organizations also cater to the notion of helping those less fortunate, but clubs quickly become entrenched in mediocre service projects.

Simply speaking, community service is not service for the community; it is a student’s task done for their own benefit. This is the sad truth.

With this perspective, it’s almost impossible to assume that students won’t compromise the quality of their work, always looking at the clock for their shift to end.

Though it sounds negative to be harping on the loss of compassion in community service, it ultimately hurts a community when its reservoir of able, helpful and hardworking people are forced to give up kindness in order to keep up with the competition, which demands results. If this progression of half-hearted service continues, the community itself will suffer.

While there are a select few students who truly do community service for the sake, the majority of students treat it like a chore that needs to be done, rather than considering it a privilege to help society.

From its conception, community service has become diluted by the mainstream of college-bound students to consist of a full box on their college applications. No longer is it done to better society, but rather is simply a task that has to be done so each applicant is on the same level as the others. And with this, the actual quality of work is lost.