September 27th, 2019
Monetary donations discredit service
THURS. | 01-07-21 | OPINION
As we have joined more and more extracurriculars throughout our high school careers, we have noticed clubs moving toward requiring strictly monetary credit opportunities. These opportunities range from donating canned food to a homeless shelter to attending a dine-around for a fundraiser. Although we believe these are worthwhile endeavors, we think there is value in allowing for more accessible credits.
Our school is made up of a diverse group of students, some of whom come from less wealthy backgrounds. Clubs that focus their activities around monetary credit opportunities are limiting their membership to a certain demographic and ostracising others. They should have just as much of an opportunity to join clubs and honor societies without having to bend over backwards to stay in good standing with the organization.
Along with this, we feel that active and time-oriented participation requires a greater dedication and commitment than monetary opportunities. Particular credit opportunities, such as club socials, fundraising races or school hall decorating, require a greater level of involvement rather than just remaining passive and seemingly buying one’s way to the senior year cord. Another issue with the consistent assignment of monetary credits is clubs’ inability to award credits equitably. For example, when buying items for Operation Christmas Child, one can spend anywhere in the range of $10 to $30, yet the given credit remains the same regardless. In this way, monetary donations put both
Graphic by Tierney Reardon
the club and its members in an awkward situation.
Although COVID-19 has helped students by allowing clubs to hold more accessible meeting times, it has caused clubs to shift even more towards monetary means of earning credits. Some have lowered credit requirements, while others have maintained their expectations from previous years. Even so, nearly all opportunities are centered around a donation or some other monetary means. We acknowledge that clubs do hold some opportunities that are non-monetary, but many are in-person which alienates virtual students who may not feel safe participating face-to-face.
When brainstorming possible opportunities, we feel that clubs should take the entire student body into consideration. For example, if they are planning to donate to a cause monetarily, only require each member to give a few dollars. Credits can also be earned through utilizing school resources or virtual tools to provide opportunities to their members. Writing cards, sending emails to the elderly or sending in positive notes to health care workers are simple options that still make a difference. Even playing online games with a resident of either a retirement home or the Ronald McDonald House could be an opportunity to give back. One group at Rose has particularly taken advantage of non-monetary credits: the Virtual Peer Tutoring Center (VPTC). The VPTC creates free tutoring sessions in each of the honor societies and the societies require their members to tutor for an allotted amount of time. In this instance, they have reverted from the heavily-exercised route of monetary credit opportunities.
We believe that any contribution to the larger community should be considered service, whether monetary or not. Within the Rose community, however, we must strive to make the service accessible to all students. This means that no matter how rich or poor a student may be, they should not in any way feel that they have been placed at a disadvantage by the very extracurriculars meant to help them grow.