Don’t join an organization for the wrong reason


Corryn Carter, Editorial Pages Editor

College students joining different clubs and organizations on campus to build a resume is not uncommon.  Finding your niche and then becoming involved in various programs that correspond with your interests, in fact, is a great way to network. The problem presents itself when individuals only join in order to serve themselves, leaving their constituents to fend for themselves.

During my short time here at the university, I have seen quite a few people update their social media biographies after being appointed or elected to positions within their various organizations. You are very quick to announce your accomplishments to your internet friends, flaunting your titles like designer handbags for all to see. You are thankful to God for the opportunity to serve and make promises to advocate on behalf of the student body.

Only these promises are empty, and at the end of your term, absolutely nothing has been accomplished. None of the things you promised to change have been addressed, none of your plans have been implemented, and even their most basic responsibilities have been neglected. The student body is frustrated and again, they scream about how we are desperate for change.

And the cycle, sadly, repeats itself.

Being a part of any organization, especially one with a community service goal requires a true commitment, which is something I believe a lot of you lack. It is obvious through your actions – the lack of meetings you all have attended, the lackluster effort put into planning and properly promoting events and not making it a priority to attend the events hosted by your organization. The goal for any member should be to leave things better than they found them, encouraging positive growth both for the organization and self. But with so many of you only interested in uplifting yourselves, where does that leave the people you swore to protect and represent?

I don’t believe you need me to tell you how selfish participating in this sort of behavior is. So often in your interviews and petitions to be selected by the general body, you speak on the subpar conditions your constituents endure and speak eloquently of your plans to fix the system your predecessors broke. Your eyes gleam with passion, your words ring out with earnest and yet when we trust you, you become complacent and fail to fulfill any of the promises you made to us.

Your constituents are tired, and quite frankly, so am I.

It is so heartbreaking to see the people within our communities suffer because of the refusal of the leadership to do their part. You are the voice that unlocks the door of opportunity. You are a beacon of hope, and it is so disheartening to constantly witness their being let down. The people you represent are so often at the lowest rungs of society, living in poverty and in areas where education systems are poor. The system has already taken advantage of them, making it difficult for them to escape their circumstances. They look to you as a helping hand. By not being committed to your leadership duties, you turn your back on them.

It is time out for abusing your positions for personal gain. Fanfare should be reserved for actual accomplishment, but you want to be praised for participation. Simply “participating” is not enough. Showing up is not enough. Sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing when there are groups of people who desperately need you is not enough. The constant need for an audience to feel motivated to do the work you signed up for must cease. A true leader is self-motivated and is ready and willing to work regardless of recognition because he knows there is a bigger picture. There are goals that must be met, changes that people are desperately counting on, and if THAT is not motivation enough, quit now.

It is simply irresponsible and overwhelmingly selfish to behave in this manner. Taking advantage of your position to simply uplift yourself says a lot about your character, which can carry much farther than your resume. I hope that reading this has inspired you to set about doing the work that each of your jobs requires, to fulfill the commitments that you swore to uphold. Your community is counting on you, eager to see you defy the bounds of complacency.

It is essential to remember the goals of your respective organizations because the foundation on which they were built is still relevant. Your commitment to those fundamental values is what will ensure that you are working diligently to initiate change. That unwavering devotion should be what keeps you motivated and will offer you the support you need in the absence of your peers. It is key to remember those we are working on behalf of, constantly recalling our vows to them because at the end of the day, they are the victims of our self-satisfaction.