Our View: Faking It

College applicants stretch the truth in service club involvement

Colleges and universities value students who dedicate their time to those in need and recognize organizations that promote these types of activities. Students often join these organizations with the goal of selling themselves to college rather than actually trying to help others. These two goals should be able to co-exist, but it becomes a problem when students compromise the purpose of the activity with their need to market themselves to colleges as selfless and socially active.

Programs like Best Buddies and National Honors Society have seen considerable growth in their membership. While Best Buddies focuses on forming relationships and interacting with special education students and National Honor Society centers on community service and volunteering, both organizations depend on positive and selfless students to provide tangible impact on those less fortunate.

While Best Buddies and National Honors Society all have a membership of over 100 students, some of its members do not possess the primary objectives of service that the clubs aim to achieve.

There are reports of NHS members falsifying service hour reports in order to fulfill the requirements set out by the club. It is the expectation for members of the National Honors Society to record their volunteer hours with honesty or integrity. When students cut corners on their volunteer expectations, they compromise both their own morals and the ethics of the club.

On a more personal level, dishonesty between Best Buddies volunteers and special education students is appalling. When committing to a program like Best Buddies, the volunteer is trusted to establish a personal connection and to treat the special education students they help with respect. Yet, there are reports of specific volunteers openly mocking Best Buddies’ partners in casual conversation outside the club. This is the ultimate breach of trust as well as being extremely disrespectful and showing a disturbing lack of empathy.

The organization exists to include Special Education students in the Jones community, breaking down existing barriers and stigma about disabilities and other obstacles to education. Faith in the Best Buddies and ACES programs deteriorates when it becomes apparent that certain students put on a different face only during those classes. By no means are we suggesting that this concerns all, or even close to the majority of participating members, but for the few that have done this, it defames the entire organization. More than that, it is, simply put, morally wrong.

These people threaten to destroy both the progress that the National Honor Society has seen in encouraging altruism and humanitarianism in students or the inclusive environment Best Buddies has created. We have seen individuals commit to the club during the meetings, doing just enough to check the box on their college application, but openly shunning the club and its actions to others.

Maybe we are wrong and everyone in the club is in it out of the goodness of their heart. It will serve as an answer if the membership of these clubs fall once the season of college acceptances is over.