Counterpoint: Are Schreiber clubs effective at promoting student activism?

Dan Bidikov, Editor-in-Chief

Prepare yourself for a dismally existential platitude: nothing that you do matters at all to anybody.  And another, this one a little less depressing: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

So the claim has been made, and the enterprising, optimistic members of the student body await the evidence.  They shake their fists and dismiss the sardonic champions of apathy, pointing with the other hand to the funding for their milliard ethnic dance clubs and hydration stations.

They write letters to the editor about the toys that they have collected and the cancer research that they have funded.  They believe that through their club activities they are encouraging the spread of culture, environmentalism, and American human goodness.  And they are so, so wrong.

“I have never paid attention to or attended a school dance performance, art show or concert.  I have never used the machine in the lobby to fill my water bottle.  I have never donated to a toy drive or participated in any of the school-based volunteer groups for more than a couple of meetings.  I have seen and spoken to a lot of people that agree with me.  I don’t believe that people take them or their goals very seriously,” said senior Arjuna Lal.

This will likely not satisfy opposing factions.  It is a simply dismissed contention—people like he must be lazy abstainers from good works.  Yet this assumption is baseless and incorrect, and the negative viewpoints towards the impact of school clubs on the school community do not come from people who have not made an effort to positively service their community.

“I have participated in community service and volunteer activity for years individually and through multiple groups,” said Lal.

The burden of proof for the effectiveness of club activity is on the clubs.  No record exists of the usage of the hydration station device.

There is no data collected on the amount of plastic water bottle purchases since the installation of the machine.  There is no evidence of any tangibly positive effect of the club’s work, therefore, which is evidence enough that the impacts of the club’s initiatives are ultimately abstract.

It is not enough to say that the machine exists, the same way it is not enough to say that the fact that alleged community benefiting events like food and toy drives are beneficial to anybody because they exist.

The fallacy commonly held among would-be Schreiber activists is that club initiatives spring other club initiatives.  An inaccurate perception exists that school clubs are inspiring, or at least inspiring to the degree that yields real results in terms of positive community impact.

No individual student has reportedly taken community action as an individual branching off the kind of activity that they might be part of in a school club.

Perhaps the most upsetting (at least, to admit) indicator of the tendency for school clubs to fall flat in their attempts to exact change within the school community is literally right in front of you.  How many other people will read this article?  And how many will care?  Likely very few.

Most, instead, will let the piles of papers be thrown away month after month while the contributors overcome difficulty both technical and human doing their best to perhaps offer either end of the student body a little bit of perspective.

And as with all other school clubs, at The Schreiber Times they will be proud of their work month after month, assuming that it is as appreciated as it is appreciable.

How truly sad it is, everything.