Donate your money, donate your time

This past weekend, Tufts hosted a variety of philanthropy events: Leonard Carmichael Society’s (LCS) Vegas, Kappa Alpha Theta’s Thetathon and Theta Chi’s Zombie Run. On Friday night, 379 people attended LCS Vegas, raising $5,745 for RESPOND, a local domestic violence agency, and the Community Action Agency of Somerville, which works to fight poverty in Somerville. Saturday night, 275 people attended Thetathon, which raised over $8,000 for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization that coordinates volunteers to advocate for abused or neglected children who otherwise may be overlooked in the legal system. Sunday morning, the Zombie Run had over 100 participants and raised over $2,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund.

All of these events raised money for important and diverse causes. In this way, the Tufts community is supporting causes related to health and medicine, youth in the legal system and the financially disadvantaged in our local community. These events also demonstrate creative methods to involve a large number of students in philanthropy. LCS Vegas is an annual event that people can look forward to as an opportunity to get off campus, dress up and enjoy an evening of dancing and low-stake gambling. Thetathon also features dancing, student DJs and food, and the Zombie Run offers aerobic exercise as well as a preview of upcoming Halloween celebrations.

Although these events should be praised for raising significant amounts of money and uniquely involving students in charity, these kinds of philanthropy events only begin to address the multitude of economic, social and health issues in the United States. People should donate money as well as their time to causes that interest them. Although fun philanthropy events provide a great incentive to donate to charity, students should not rely on the incentive of a dance party or social event to give back to the community. Additionally, the student groups who host these events should remember to educate students on their fundraising cause.

LCS provides a wide variety of community service opportunities throughout the semester. The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service sends weekly emails listing various lectures by accomplished public service agents, as well as volunteer and internship opportunities for students. Thus, there are plenty of ways for students to get more involved in philanthropy other than sporadic charity events held by student groups. An integral part of the college experience involves discovering interests and passions for certain issues within society. Attending charity events, although a fun way to raise money, should not be the only incentive or method of contributing to a cause.