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The UltraViolet

Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Bake Sales as Community Service Perpetuate Apathy

Graphic by Gabby '15
Graphic by Gabby ’15

When she arrives to the ethereal bake sale, the only thing between her and a brownie is a swarm of students and teachers. But the wait is never long; club leaders and members alike have perfected the art of quickly sifting through customers, trying to earn as much money as possible.

There’s no time to explain why they are fundraising; there’s no time to ask where the one-dollar bills are going; the students just get their sweets and run.

This is a problem.

The purpose of the bake sale is to raise money, usually for the club’s designated charity, and rarely to run the club itself. However, we at the UltraViolet believe that this emphasis on blind fiscal giving from clubs at Marlborough to nonprofit organizations encourages passivity in the student body. The more prosperous, and potentially more beneficial, solution would be for clubs to educate the public on their charities and help the cause with hands-on support.

Seventy-five percent of the proceeds from any club fundraiser must go to a charity, leaving 25% for the club’s own financial needs. With this charitable requirement easily checked off, Marlborough students are led to believe that the most effective way they should make a difference in the world is through donations.

Whatever happened to the kind of community service that meant going down to the homeless shelter and meeting the people whom your funds directly affect–serving them soup, helping clean the shelter? What ever happened to making a difference with your hands? It’s unfortunate that both the club system and Marlborough student body rely entirely on money to make a difference.

Marlborough’s DJ club is in a unique situation because it needs money to support itself; it needs a new mixer, turntables, and spending money to buy new records. Club members host bake sales so they can have money to run the club, because without it, they would have to fund their community performances out of pocket. They are currently trying to work with the Community Service office to see if a fundraiser they are participating in later this year could substitute for the 75% rule. They would be teaching younger kids how to DJ, introducing them to music and making a difference in person.

Even though the DJ club has a good chance to obtain its goal and replace the donation rule, it would be more constructive for the Marlborough community, and the charities the clubs support, if it was simply an automatic option for clubs to substitute real hands-on community service with the 75% giving rule. Then the clubs that need to support themselves for events or equipment could have more flexibility while making a physical difference.

We at the UltraViolet must ask what difference the $200 dollars from a bake sale really makes? Would it be more effective than volunteering at the charity for a day?

Many clubs at Marlborough reach to the far corners of the globe, for example, trying to better the lives of women and girls in places where they need it. However admirable their actions, the fact remains that, most of the time, their sole contribution to the cause is financial. Sometimes we have an ASM to learn more information, and sometimes one or two girls actually travel to the country to distribute what they did, but not all club members can participate. This system reinforces to Marlborough girls that the only way they can make a difference globally is through giving money, a passive, detached solution.

Instead, clubs should choose charities in Los Angeles so that club members can visit them and make a hands-on difference. This would encourage students to participate in community service in a more direct and long-lasting manner.


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