Vol­un­teers from the Day of Service

Hun­dreds of Hillsdale stu­dents flooded the com­munity on Sat­urday for the college’s “Day of Service.” This week, hun­dreds more will raise money for phil­an­thropy during “Greek Week,” when soror­ities compete to raise funds.

These events accom­plish good things — but we shouldn’t let them check our charity boxes. Instead, these bursts of goodwill should kick­start habits of giving and awareness that may be less noticeable but, in the long run, have more impact.

Short-term aid can have problems if it doesn’t have a long-term per­spective. Researchers have doc­u­mented the problems with short-term mission trips that give quick-fix solu­tions and leave com­mu­nities in the dust, or projects that focus on ban­daging material needs while neglecting deeper rela­tional problems.

So make Saturday’s vol­unteer project a habit. Join the GOAL program you helped for a day. Donate every month to the charity you support during Greek Week. Give your time, not just money. And invest in the Hillsdale com­munity in other ways, by giving it your business and taking interest in its affairs. It has more to offer you than you have to offer it.

The Day of Service and Greek-life phil­an­thropy are good things, but they don’t make Hillsdale stu­dents good stu­dents. It’s easy to do the right thing when everyone’s doing it together and when you can post a ‘selfie’ of it on Instagram. Let these events encourage you to join vol­unteer pro­grams or meet needs you’ve wit­nessed habit­ually — in a humble, quiet fashion.