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The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Heritage Day Forces Volunteering, Wastes Time

Photo courtesy of Mark Harris

Let me start by saying that I think Heritage Day is a great idea, I just don’t think it is executed well. First, I don’t need a million emails reminding me about a day that is non-stop advertised over TV advertisements, signs, and social media. 

The emails that everyone received were either confusing, not including the time of Heritage Day, or just had the ominous email subject: “See you tomorrow…” I’m not joking; that was the literal subject, with a huge link to Heritage Day in the larger email. 

One of the images in the email was not sized properly, so when you opened it, the flyer format was huge. Additionally, these emails seemed like they were genuinely not checked over by anyone before being sent out, which seems crazy when they’re being dispersed to the entire student body. 

Additionally, I have very strong opinions about forced labor, especially forced volunteer work. Personally, my school held a day of volunteering one Saturday every year for Day of Caring hosted by United Way, where hundreds of students would willingly spend an entire day of their weekend doing volunteer work. There was no catch if you didn’t want to go; people genuinely just went out of the kindness of their hearts. 

That is not what happens on Heritage Day. Many students dread this day, and I always hear freshmen asking around if they take attendance and if they will get kicked out of the school if they don’t attend. This is not the attitude that we should be sending students out into the community with; how does it reflect upon us? I genuinely enjoy volunteer work, but having to be forced to do it, completely takes away from the point. 

My biggest problem with Heritage Day is the extremely early start for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Students have to arrive at Johnson Hall around 8 a.m. for about two hours of discussions, set up, and choosing places to volunteer. I’m not sure why this is necessary since my high school only needed about 30 minutes for the entire process of getting ready during our Day of Caring, including feeding hundreds of students breakfast for free as a thank-you for dedicating eight hours of their weekend to volunteer. I just don’t see how this process could take this long or why they would want it to. 

When students only do two actual hours of volunteer work on a day dedicated to volunteering, it makes me raise my eyebrows. My high school’s Day of Giving was at least eight hours of volunteer work, so I honestly don’t know why Moravian requires a set-up time equal to the actual volunteer hours. 

I live on South Campus, and there was only one shuttle running all day, so there was no way I was waking up extra early to shuttle down when everyone else could just roll out of bed and stroll over to Johnson Hall.  I understand why we had fewer shuttles running, but I had to wait over 30 minutes for a shuttle to pick me up from South Campus to take me to my blood donation appointment, which was also frustrating. This doesn’t even include commuters who have to wake up early on a “day off” to drive to campus in order to get there in time by 8 a.m.

If students were not forced to attend Heritage Day, I think they would have a lot more fun and feel more encouraged to attend. I know this might seem to to the opposite of what is intended, students don’t want to do anything forced. Just think about it; when you’re told or forced to do something, do you ever feel like doing it? I know I don’t. 

Additionally, students are expected to do this volunteer work, yet they are not treated to a free breakfast at the Star. All students who wanted breakfast that day had to use a meal swipe, which is where I draw the line. There’s no way I’m doing unpaid, forced labor and not getting breakfast out of it. 

For some reason, the Heritage Day shirts are always long sleeves, despite the very hot temperatures of mid-September. On Heritage Day, I was dripping sweat in short sleeves at 3 p.m., so I couldn’t imagine waiting in the food line in even hotter hours of the day. 

Again, I want to reiterate that I have no issues with the idea of Heritage Day, and I would actually be encouraged to attend in future years if they make some changes. However, I feel like it’s unnecessary for students to sit through two hours of hearing about how important volunteer work is when they all chose–or were forced to–be in that room regardless. It feels like preaching to the choir; these students are currently volunteering– you don’t need to tell them about how important it is. 

And, please make short-sleeved shirts next year. Please.

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  • M

    Mr. CuomoOct 1, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    Some great points bought up in this article