A Project for Better Journalism chapter

True Altruism Does Not Exist

Last Friday I witnessed Principal Downey getting pied in the face. For what? Two fresh faced altruistic clubs looking to establish themselves as legitimate organizations. The playful, yet unoriginal, attack was a joint incentive posed by Reaching Into Students’ Education and Relay For Life in order to encourage donations to their causes. Sure, their plans were successful. But what spectators need to ask is “Why?”. Why is something like a pie in the face necessary in order to encourage donations? If Northview students are the type to found charity-based organizations, should we not also breed students willing to participate in true altruism? Do not get me wrong, I support charity. The end results are the same regardless of the motivation. However, if we do have time this holiday season to recognize how selfish our acts of charity truly are, perhaps it will lead us to be more mindful of why we really donate.

I bring this up because I am simply laying out the truth: charity would not exist without ulterior motivations; especially in high school.

This year especially, I have noticed an increase in the number of fundraisers, whether for sports teams or clubs. Naturally, we have the restaurant fundraiser. With every purchase of a meal, 25% of the money goes to the team. Traditionally, it has been sports team focused- they have a loyal following of athletes and parents. Even with a 25% cut of the day’s profits, they make decent money. But if they wanted 100% of the money, could the oh-so-charitable not just donate what they would have spent on a meal?

Certain clubs are finding even more creative ways to coax donations out of students by bringing treats such as Chick-fil-a and bubble tea to Northview’s hallways. And they have been wildly successful. Kudos to them for finding the sweet spot of their target audience.

Students must remember that we are talking about high school kids. Sure, some of us have jobs, or an allowance, but in most cases, our money is terribly limited. It takes a lot for a teenager to shell out some cash for some charity they have no personal connection to.

That is how charity works in reality. We have to offer something to get something. Nobody is going to donate money if they do not get something in return.

That is why we have competitions where the most “altruistic” receive a pizza party, or a gift card.

But here are we are in December, with charity as cliche and common as candy canes.

As you drop spare change in the bucket, or rustle up some stuffed animals for Beta hours, I suggest that you take a look at why you are donating. Maybe you will start to feel selfish and false about how much of an altruistic failure you have become.