A Collective Effort

In its casting of major school events, Andover consistently tries to match its actions with its core values. “Youth from Every Quarter,” “Finis Origine Pendet,” “Non Sibi”—all three phrases play a central role in crafting both Andover’s day-to-day life and its public image. Each year, Non-Sibi Day embodies the extended Andover community’s commitment to partnering with the larger world. However, this year the Non-Sibi Day model remained true to this principle only in its intentions.

Because Non-Sibi Day fell on Columbus Day weekend, only new students were required to participate. This change negatively impacted Non-Sibi Day, detracted from the returning student experience and made Non-Sibi Day a near non-event for more than half of the student body.

Save for the widespread alumni participation that expanded the event out of the Andover bubble, Non-Sibi Day was a mere shadow of the energetic, unified participation of the past. Rather than waking up for a day of service and collective connection with the broader community, most returning students spent the day engrossed in SATs, attached to their pillows or enjoying a lazy Saturday morning.

As a result, Non-Sibi Day came and went, at least on-campus, without much recognition of the concept that inspired it.

While some may argue that the requiring a day of community service is oxymoronic, a school whose guiding motto is Non Sibi should have no qualms with fully committing itself to one day of service.

This fall, though, this question of validity became irrelevant. By not requiring student participation, Non-Sibi Day became too narrow in scope to accomplish its purpose of reaffirming Andover’s commitment to its founding principles. Andover students certainly did good work, but their impact was mitigated by the limited participation. Only 70 spots were available for returning students; less than half were filled, according to Monique Cueto-Potts, Director of Community Service.

In the past, whether working together at Cor Unum, sorting trash at Fuess or clearing brush on Thompson Island, many students found Non-Sibi Day worthwhile upon completion, even if they had somewhat grudgingly begun their Saturday in the wee hours of the morning. In the end, Andover’s Non Sibi motto inspired the day, and broad participation affirmed these values.

The administration, the Community Service office and students should take time to remember the merit of our Non Sibi values. All should realize that not involving the entire school is logically counter to the idea of a community-wide commitment to “not for self.” Non-Sibi Day represents a reaffirmation of Andover’s values, and if it does not involve a majority student body, it fails in this regard.

This Editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXV.