Selective service. (Letters).
DOUGLAS M. ORR, JR. President, Warren Wilson College
Joshua Green accuses schools of having abandoned their commitment to community service because they do not use federal work-study funds to assign students to paid community service. What he fails to note is a difference of perspective on the issue. Not all schools believe that paying students for community-service work is the best way to encourage them toward service. Our university is founded upon and committed to Franciscan ideals, including the value of community and the dignity of all. We encourage our students not only to learn these ideals, but to live them. We have never had a service requirement, yet are deeply committed to service, as are our students. However, that's the key: They volunteer; they choose to serve. We consider voluntary service to be true service; if you are paid, it's a job. America's best colleges aren't its worst; we simply choose to approach service differently.
ROBERT J. WICKENHEISER President, St. Bonaventure University
Please share with your readers that University of North Texas didn't actually belong on your "Worst of the Worst" list. The real percentage we spent on community service was 9.6 percent, a number I expect will continue to grow.
CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM Director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, University of North Texas
You could have bolstered your own service ethic by getting the names of the colleges right. Virginia Polytechnic State Institute and State University is the official name for what is commonly known as "Virginia Tech." In my journalistic writing class at Virginia Tech, I learned the importance of accuracy. You obviously did not.
SUSAN D. STRAYER Washington, D. C.
Joshua Green replies: Presidents Orr and Wickenheiser are conflating volunteerism and work-study. They're two different things. As the article explained--and nonprofits attest--work-study students are preferable to volunteers because they're more reliable; their financial aid depends on them showing up for work. Critics may sniff at the notion of payment, but they shouldn't. Work-study enables many students to attend college who otherwise couldn't. If St. Bonaventure wishes to "approach service differently," that's fine by me. But the government may not be so understanding. Performing work-study service isn't a choice, it federal law -- one that President Bush wants to strengthen by requiring that 50 percent of funds go to service. As for Ms. Strayer, we'll gladly run a correction as soon as the Virginia Tech football team changes its jerseys to read "Virginia Polytechnic State Institute and State University."
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|Article Type:||Letter to the Editor|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2002|
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