Opinion: “Men and Women for Others," Only When Convenient

BC’s identity can be summed up with 3 well-known sayings, “sucks to BU,” “ sexy and smart,” and “men and women for others.” As any Eagle would, I agree with and embrace these mottos whole-heartedly. Or, almost whole-heartedly. The more I’ve become involved with clubs on campus, the more I’ve realized that students at BC are “for others,” only when convenient.

Let me define convenient. I don’t mean physically or location-based convenience. There are endless ignored opportunities to aid others here on campus: flyers inches away from hands aren't taken, tables set up at major intersections somehow become deserted, and though people stand right in the middle of the walking path, students part like the red sea. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of times I’ve eagerly asked, “Have you heard about our event?” in the past week alone, and was met with silence or the back of someone as they sped up their pace and walked by. The majority of involved students are like me: we all make the effort, give the enthusiasm and offer all the information needed for a person to attend or support a cause, probably even delivered in the additional form of a neatly typed and nicely sized flyer. That’s pretty convenient in my book, but it’s not the kind of convenience that you can put on a resume, or pregame for, or hang out with your friends through.

And that’s what a margin of the population here wants. We all know a guy on an E-board for a service club whose sole commitment to said club is his duty to throw a party for members or pregame their retreats. Yes, in some sense he is “for others” with his liquid contribution, but I’d argue that it’s only he who truly benefits. The same goes for the girl who is determined to get across the river for law school and so she overcommits herself to all things pre-law and diplomatic. Sure, she attends the meetings for Model UN, and each political party’s club, but is she doing it out of a desire to gain the knowledge necessary to enhance society? Or is she doing it for an application?

Courtesy of Winnetka Youth Organization/Flickr So you can build a house, but you can't take my flyer?

Courtesy of Winnetka Youth Organization/Flickr
So you can build a house, but you can't take my flyer?

I’m not saying that we all need to live through Aristotle’s framework and aim for a noble cause in all that we do. And I’m sure that it can be argued that spending time with your friends while you hand out food in a homeless shelter is a just motive. All I’m saying is that as students who strive to lead a life of excellence, I expect more of a motive aligning with community gains, and less of personal advantage. If we all just took the necessary 75 seconds to listen to our peers when they’re out using their time to promote or advocate for a cause, we would be one step closer to living up to our school’s motto.

There’s that saying that charity starts at home, but I think it should start in the quad. You don’t need to give anything but your attention. As someone who is frequently on the other side of the table, take it from me: we all know you hear us, we definitely know you see us, and finally, we acknowledge that the whole exchange has the potential to be awkward if you have no interest.

But, hear me out: we’re at that table because we want to be. We believe in the cause we represent and it genuinely means a lot to us that you take the time to stop and listen to what we have to say. If you attend our event, we’ll attend yours, and maybe even find a new cause to be passionate about. That’s how it works when you operate under the mindset that your time is best spent invested in others.

We’re all familiar with the BC look-away, perhaps even guilty of it on the daily. But compared to the BC avoidance, the look-away is nothing more than a paper cut. Yes, there’s usually an endearingly awkward history, some innocent attempt at self-preservation, and probably a story to bring to Mac or Lower, but we’ve all had one, and all know how bad it stings. Most of us wipe it off, and don’t even need a band-aid. But the BC avoidance is like losing a finger. It’s not life threatening and you probably won’t bleed out, but the loss of a finger is a noticeable injury that you’re going to always be stuck with. It’s more personal because not only is it an injury to you, but an impediment to all those who could have benefited from another helping hand.

So, smart and sexy peers, keep in mind that every time you ignore some students in the quad, you’re cutting off a finger. We only have 10 so choose your deliberate avoidances carefully. And just remember that next time you’re in need of a hand, you might only get a stub.

Featured image courtesy of Alex Krowiak/Gavel Media