Commentary

True Non Sibi

Last Saturday, I arrived at the chapel in the rain. Bounding up the chapel steps, I looked for my Non Sibi Day crew. When I couldn’t find them, I searched for West Quad North Cluster Dean and Head of Community Service Chad Green. He informed me that my project, Earthworks, a program at an urban agriculture farm in the Boston area, had been cancelled. Knowing that a good deal of my friends were doing the Cradles to Crayons project, I took the last spot on their bus. After the hour-long drive to the factory, we were split into two groups. The first group made packages of clothes and toys to be shipped out, and my group worked in the book section of the factory. There, we sorted the books by suitability for specific age groups. After two hours of sorting, we were told to stop. We took a group picture before piling back onto the bus. All in all, we spent only two hours doing the actual Non Sibi task we had signed on for. Two hours of sorting books is not my idea of community service. Four hours, not necessarily all sorting books, maybe organizing packages for children, would have been more of a “day.” If memory serves me right, it was Non Sibi Day, not Non Sibi Two Hours. I did not find my experience last Saturday very fulfilling. Even though we helped bring books to children in need, we did not do so on a large enough scale. One of the issues this year’s Non Sibi Day faced was a lack of enthusiasm, at least in my group. If I had felt that the work I was doing would have a greater impact, maybe I would have been more motivated and enthusiastic. I hope Non Sibi Day 2010 will entail fewer “feel good” projects and more projects that provide large scale improvement. For example, last year School President Malin Adams gave a speech about his Non Sibi Day. With a group of other members of the class of ’09, Malin went to Danvers, where a fire had burned down a few houses. That day, they worked on renovating the house, and made a good deal of headway in its renovation process. Perhaps I’m being too ambitious, but that is what I think Non Sibi Day should be about. Ben Krapels is a two-year Lower from Andover, MA. bkrapels@andover.edu