Real service culture

April 21, 2010

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AS A 2008 Boston College graduate, I am offended by Brian McGrory’s assumptions about the character and citizenship of BC, its students, and its alumni. Perhaps the most disheartening aspect of McGrory’s mean-spirited piece is his quickness to dismiss the service so many Boston College students provide to the city of Boston as meaningless without a “culture of pay-more-money.’’

The culture of service Jack Dunn spoke of in McGrory’s column is real, important, and unique to BC. McGrory has clearly not heard of the popular Boston College service program, 4Boston. Its members vie for placements at dozens of area organizations, where they give four hours of their time every week, with no compensation or credit other than the valuable lessons they learn working in the Boston community.

As a former 4Boston volunteer working with children in a Brighton public housing community, I know I made genuine contributions to the welfare of the city — the kind money cannot buy. BC not only encouraged me to serve Boston as a student, but engendered in me a need to continue contributing to Boston-based organizations with both time and yes, money, after graduating. Imparting such values is surely as meaningful as the large checks written by other universities.

Finally, McGrory would do well to remember that when seeking aid for a cause, whether it is the city or another organization, it is generally wisest to ask with kindness, not insults.


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