Con: Buying dress-down days detracts from charitable intentions

Ianna Pirozzi, In-Focus Editor

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In an ideal world, the homeless have shelter, the hungry have food, and the poor have enough money to provide for their basic needs.

This situation just simply isn’t feasible in the 21st century, which is why so many nonprofit organizations ask for donations in order to support the needy in the community.

At JC, students who make contributions to these groups have been given several opportunities to dress out of uniform for the day, but the reception of a reward detracts from otherwise charitable intentions.

Charity, at its core, is based around helping others without the need for reimbursement. Thus, the concept of earning a dress down day for being a good person and labeling it as a “donation” is ridiculous because it essentially disregards half of the principles of charity.

An act of charity isn’t, and shouldn’t be, like a trip to the grocery store where you look around for something you like, hand over some money, and take it with you as you go on your merry way. It is not a business transaction or a compromise where you get something back in return. Charity is a trip down a one-way street. There should not be an expectation of a reward of any kind in the opposite direction.

The reasoning behind the incentive is good in theory, as it winds up collecting more money for various groups like Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Cambiando Vidas Service Trip to the Dominican Republic, or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The practice unfortunately falls short because students are only donating so that they receive something in return

Does it objectively matter how the money or supplies get to a particular cause? No, but that “how” determines if an act can be described as charity. Benefits have the power to increase the number of altruistic acts, but that often comes at the expense of being the sole purpose of the act.

During my life, I have been on both the receiving and serving ends of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The monetary donations were always appreciated, but the people who go out of their way to actually sacrifice their time by preparing a meal were the true heroes.

Students have no problem scraping together $5 to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks, but they balk in real situations to do good for others. Ultimately, this reflects back poorly on themselves as individuals.

Students should spare themselves the embarrassment of needing an incentive to donate for children with cancer. Instead, they should look for opportunities to be selfless in ways that show a little bit of effort. Only then can they be regarded as “true heroes,” too.

Ianna Pirozzi is an In-Focus Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.