Alumni Affairs Day

Alumni Affairs, job well done. You got alumni involved in Non Sibi Day events all over the world, connecting them back to the Academy. You helped plant gardens, serve meals in soup kitchens, collect school supplies for children in Iraq and clear trails – and those projects were just at PA. You generated countless beautiful images of students working together, smiling and looking awfully selfless. And kids and alums alike have testified with personal anecdotes and stories as to the power of the day. We’re glad for that. Non Sibi Day is one of several great ways that alumni can connect with students, in addition to events like Broadening Horizons. In many ways, it is more about that connection than it is about the service learning. If the goal is really to reach out to the communities beyond Phillips Academy, Non Sibi Day is a short-lived, meager effort. And if the goal is to have a lasting effect on students, to help instill values of public service and the desire to help others – well this day is still a short-lived effort. Non Sibi Day no doubt helped generate alumni interest – which often translates to alumni donations, and so it was a great achievement in both reaching out and raising money. But what stayed with us besides the free T-shirts? What endured? It is symbolic at best, disingenuous at worst to hear students claim that those few hours were life-changing, revelatory ones. One day won’t cut it. Leave the valuable lessons to the Community Service Office, the other 364 days of the year.