Editorial: Club community service requirement uncalled for and unnecessary

As of the 2014-2015 school year, all clubs on campus are required to complete a community service project. In order for a club to remain a club, the project must be approved by both ASG and the dean of activities, and 80 percent of the club’s members must participate. For clubs that are already community service-based, this new requirement is little more than an afterthought. But for others, it creates a serious inconvenience.

Article XVIII, section 6 of the school constitution reads, “a club must actively contribute to the school by sponsoring activities or services.” This is the only mention in the constitution of required services with regard to clubs, and it does not provide enough basis for a requirement of community service. A club may serve the school in a variety of ways — perhaps through community service, or simply by providing a small community in which like-minded students can connect. Similarly, activities can range from Interact’s caroling for cans to math club’s math competitions. The existence of a club inherently contributes to the school. An extra requirement is unnecessary and is not provided for under the constitution.

Carly Adams, dean of activities, said that changes will soon be made to the school constitution and that “it is not written properly.” However, as long as the constitution exists in its current form it is the authority for rules regarding clubs. Since community service is not required under it, the rule should not exist at least until the document is changed, if at all. In addition, there is no difference in the requirements for community service clubs and the requirements for interest clubs. This suggests that the rule has not been carefully thought out.

Requiring a non-community service-based club to do community service often undermines its purpose. It distorts the meaning of a club into an organization that does community service, which is not accurate. In short, a club is nothing more than an interest group — a collection of a group of students who share a common interest. The cookies and naptime club was not created to help the community. It was created for members to eat cookies and nap. The purpose of the “Girls Who Code” club is to learn coding, not spend time planning and executing a community service project. Clubs should be free to carry out their respective purposes, not to serve a purpose that is already being provided for by other clubs.

The new rule not only takes away from the authenticity of interest clubs, it also dilutes the importance of the clubs that are geared towards community service — if every club does community service, then there is no longer any reason to join the clubs that were created for community service. Rather than being clubs that are known for something specialized, those clubs lose much of their meaning.

There is a difference between community service to fulfill a requirement and community service to help a cause, and the former is much less useful than the latter. Jessica Han, president of Speech and Debate club, said “I guess we’ll get community service done, but I don’t know how meaningful it will be.”

A multitude of interest clubs may have this problem. Because there is no time requirement in the wording of the rule, it lends itself to one-time endeavors that are simply something to write down rather than thoughtful services that can significantly help the community. It will not have a profound effect on the community, and will instead take time away from the true purpose of clubs: creating communities.

Positive change is enacted by creative, informed people who genuinely care about a cause. It isn’t something that’s created by requiring community service — it is something that is created by endorsing and supporting every club that seeks to bring passionate people together.

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