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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
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Be selfless, not self-serving this Thanksgiving

The approach of Thanksgiving marks the approach of the season of giving: the season of giving thanks, the season of giving gifts, and the season of giving your time to the people and organizations that really need it. And there’s no time like the present!

With the semester winding down and the holidays coming up, students are finding more time within their busy schedules and freeing themselves up for other activities, like the numerous service opportunities going on around the University of Massachusetts Boston and around the city itself.

The start of the season giving is already evident all around campus and around the city: Salvation Army members can be found sporting Santa Claus hats in malls and grocery stores alike collecting money to fight hunger and poverty, and places on campus like the U-Access Food Pantry are collecting non-perishables in preparation for Thanksgiving.

Organizations on campus like Campus Kitchens and Project Serve are always looking for volunteers, and outside organizations in the Boston area are also looking for support as the holiday season approaches.

With so many volunteer opportunities open, students can give some of their time to help out in the spirit of the holidays. There’s nothing like spending some free time doing something for someone other than yourself.

But when does selfless volunteer work turn into self-serving volunteer work? If you do volunteer work looking solely for a pat on the back, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s the season of giving, people! It doesn’t count if the only reason you’re donating your favorite childhood board game to Toys for Tots is to Instagram a picture of it later to show your circle of friends what a good person you are. And it definitely doesn’t count as selfless volunteer work if you check in on Facebook while volunteering at a local soup kitchen if you’re only looking for positive reinforcement

The line between selfless and self-serving volunteering is sometimes hard to distinguish: is the person tweeting about their day spent serving food to the homeless humble, or is it an indirect way of seeking a nice pat on the back at the end of the day?

It all rests in the motives behind it. There’s a saying that the true test of a person’s character is what he or she does when no one is looking, and this season I encourage you all to volunteer with that in mind.

However, social media can be a powerful outlet to get the word out. Tell everyone about what you’re doing for volunteer work this season by tweeting, Instagramming, or checking in on Facebook!

Volunteering is cool, and everyone in your newsfeed should know about it, and this is where the selfless aspect of sharing what you’re doing on social media comes in. The most selfless thing you can do this holiday is not just dedicate your time to the organizations you’re passionate about, but get everyone else you know passionate about it as well.

This holiday season I encourage everyone to do at least one thing with someone else in mind: dedicate your time to the Campus Kitchens, donate a dollar to a Salvation Army member shivering outside of Shaw’s, or reach out to any of the numerous community service organizations on campus to see what they have planned this season.

Then tell everyone about it! Word of mouth is powerful, and I’m challenging everyone to spread the idea of selfless volunteer work to everyone they know.

It’s the season of giving after all, and we all can spare a little free time to make a difference.