January 22, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 62  

Front Page >> Editorial > Story


> News
> Editorial & Opinions
> Arts & Entertainment
> Campus Life
> Sports


> Archives
> Search Archive:
> Browse By Date:

More Stuff

> Photo Gallery
> Comics
> Contests
> Links

Talk to Us

> About Us
> Submit Letter
> Volunteers
> Advertising
> Gazette Alumni Society


Volunteering for right reasons

Why do people volunteer? Is it merely to pad their resumés or increase their chances of getting into graduate school? Or perhaps volunteers are a rare brand of pure altruists, who are selflessly devoted to the welfare of others.


It’s unfortunate that this second option should sound so ludicrous, but the simple fact of the matter is that money makes the world go round. It shouldn’t and we all wish it wasn’t so, but when it comes right down to it, money is the one thing most people in the Western world always want more of.

But we still haven’t answered the primary question: that is, why DO people volunteer, considering the fact that it is unpaid, sometimes grueling and thankless work? Let’s investigate further...

First we have the high school-style forced volunteerism, much like prison-instituted community service, where students are required to “volunteer” a certain number of hours each week to meet requirements for a course. While “forced volunteerism” is an undeniable oxymoron, students nonetheless grudgingly trudge out to hospitals and food banks to meet the minimum requirements needed to pass.

All the same, it can be argued that “forced volunteerism” can open students’ eyes to the world of volunteering; sometimes people just need a little prodding to get involved in such activities. Arguably, class assignments that require volunteerism could encourage students to go out and volunteer on their own time, once they realized how personally rewarding it can be.

Next, there are the resumé padders, who know how much more favourably employers look upon someone who devotes free time to volunteering at the local humane society. Of course, resumé padders do not necessarily enjoy their volunteer stints, but hey — it’s all in the name of getting a better job and making more money, which makes it worthwhile. Right?

Finally, there are the people who volunteer because it makes them feel good to know they’re helping others in need. While this is a more commendable reason than the previous ones, it can still be argued that it stems from the selfish need to feel good about oneself. You know, the whole argument about how altruism doesn’t exist and all our actions are inherently selfish — but we’re getting too philosophical here.

The bottom line is that volunteerism should be something that is neither forced nor used as a means to an end (ie. getting a better job). There are tons of different volunteering opportunities out there — aside from the traditional hospitals and soup kitchens, there are volunteer positions in sporting, music, theatre and the good ol’ Gazette. It’s worthwhile to try it out, even if only for a week or so. Who knows, you may actually find out that you like it.



News Links

© 2003 The Gazette  
BluThng Productions