Support or critique student philanthropy, but don’t confuse it

The only thing Mount Allison’s chapters of Habitat for Humanity and Global Brigades have in common is they both happen during reading break. That’s it. Their mandates are completely different.

I get really frustrated when I hear people condemn one organization by association with the other. I don’t think any of us should be in the business of deciding what initiatives on campus are more virtuous or valuable than others. But I find it problematic when groups become untouchable in terms of criticism.

For example, when no-one wants to criticize Global Brigades because there is a good chance that someone in earshot has been involved, and then critic gets a full-frontal attack, that’s a problem. Maybe that’s my bias though; I happen to care a lot about the MASU, which gets its fair share of regular criticism. I think this feature project is great, because The Argosy should be asking these questions—it’s their job.

At the end of the day, I’m more inclined to think that we should support all the initiatives that our colleagues and classmates care about. If you don’t want to financially support an initiative for one reason or another, then don’t go to their pub nights, don’t go to their keggers, and don’t participate in their fundraisers. It’s as easy as that.

Personally, if a group of my peers care a lot about something, I’m usually thrilled for them and inclined to support them—and I hope they would be equally as inclined to support the things I care about. The idea that there is only a selection of ‘worthwhile’ initiatives on campus is a fallacy. We shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the things our peers care a lot about, and I don’t think any group on campus should take itself too seriously.

No one is saving the world. Call a spade a spade. Respect that we all have different interests, and respect how those interests take a lot of different shapes—all virtuous and valuable to the people involved.

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