Opinion

EDITORIAL Each one, reach one.

Lately there have been discussions regarding the Butler Volunteer Services Center [VSC], and word is that one of the possibilities being contemplated is closing it sometime this summer. If this happens, we find it to be unacceptable, because community service is an integral part of college education and the college experience. If this doesn’t happen, then we take this opportunity to praise and acknowledge one of the lesser-appreciated centers on campus that we tend to take for granted.

Closing the VSC would go precisely against what the University should stand for. It would send the wrong message: volunteerism isn’t important enough to have an independently funded and run center of its own.

The VSC was established in 1989 and modeled after Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service. Centers like Haas and the VSC were created with the innovative idea of connecting schoolwork with community service, bringing together faculty and students to research and better their communities.

In effect, dozens of students take part in the VSC’s activities every year, totaling around 18,000 hours of community service work, according to the VSC’s website. The VSC engages in training student leaders in service, connecting students and student organizations with local service agencies and linking classroom work with practical work, among other things.

This will most likely be lost if the VSC is closed.

If the VSC were incorporated into another office, like the Smith-Tucker Involvement Center (a.k.a. the STIC), the importance of volunteerism will be devalued and watered down to be just a mere section of student involvement. As a part of another organization, volunteering activities would probably be under-funded or mismanaged, becoming just another of the many groups already under the STIC’s jurisdiction (like Hurricane Productions, SAFAC and the Elections Commission). This isn’t to say that the STIC is an ineffective manager of the services it provides. However, if UM is truly committed to public service, it should maintain volunteering activities as a separate organization.

The VSC already has a small, unobtrusive office to start off with. And yet, this office is always full of helpful people, information, opportunities and, if nothing else, objects that make any student feel happy and welcome, like colorful pillows, beanbag chairs and hand-drawn posters and thank you notes. What will happen to these dedicated people (who work long hours and often seven days a week) and to their overflowing bulletin boards and friendly knick-knacks if the VSC is closed?

The VSC is essential to UM. The activities it sponsors like Funday, A Week for Life, Alternative Spring Break, Kids and Culture and Up ‘Til Dawn are fulfilling experiences that make the average UM student a better person. They raise awareness about issues like mental illness, AIDS and poverty – important problems that, as privileged students, we often forget about.

It’s after volunteering in, say, Hurricanes Help the Hometown, that we gain a little perspective and return to our dorms realizing how petty and unimportant the latest Abercrombie fashion and the newest Mazda convertible really are.

April 27, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Though it’s early, UM already has assembled an outstanding nine-member 2020 recruiting class, a grou ...

Three days before they open their season against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Miami Hurricanes h ...

The first half of Wednesday night’s game was as lousy as the weather outside the Watsco Center, as t ...

UM coach Manny Diaz took his staff to the Florida Keys on Tuesday evening to visit with famous Keys ...

Dominic Mammarelli didn’t only commit to the Miami Hurricanes because of Mark Richt and his old staf ...

The University of Miami will host the first symposium to explore LGBTQ human rights across the Ameri ...

UM experts react to a new ban that prohibits people in Key West from using certain types of sunscree ...

A matchmaker extraordinaire, Ricardo Cepeda, the manager of the UM Zebrafish Facility, is passionate ...

The Shelley family shares their story of four generations at the University of Miami. ...

Mark Rowlands, a University of Miami professor who adopted and raised a wolf-dog cub, observed the s ...

The Canes open the 75th season in program history and first under the direction of head coach Gino D ...

The No. 15 Miami women's tennis team is set to open league competition Saturday afternoon with ...

ACC unveils opponents for 20-game conference schedules for next three seasons. ...

Miami tops Clemson 65-64, as Johnson hits game-winner with 0.4 seconds remaining. ...

The Miami women's tennis team ascended two spots in this week's Oracle/ITA team rankings a ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.