Forced volunteerism doesn’t make sense

Briana Sandoval

As the end of the year approaches, many students, other than the few high school volunteer heroes who have around 500 hours, will find themselves frantically scurrying to barely hit that 25 hour volunteering requirement. I find those two words used together in a sentence to be quite paradoxical. Normally you wouldn’t think that the words “requirement” and “volunteering” would have any correlation whatsoever. But choosing not to conform to the requirements of volunteering  would result in your loss of the precious Diploma of Distinction.

However, I still find it disappointing that we have gotten to the point where we volunteer because we are required to, rather than doing it purely for the self-motivation to want to help others. Mandatory requirements give students a negative perspective toward volunteering, as it is seen as stressful and possibly even agonizing.

The real question we should be asking ourselves is why are we doing this? Well, we do our hours in order to gain money from the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. Currently, this program is offering Florida Medallion scholars an amount of $77 per credit and Florida Academic Scholars a total of $103 per credit. However, the scholarship amounts may vary depending on each different university. Unfortunately for us, the availability of money in this program is slowly depleting like our motivation to do our hours.

Junior Jake Bursk said that mandatory volunteer hours have both pros and cons.

“I like how West Shore forces its students to volunteer because it allows you to obtain a Bright Futures Scholarship, but I don’t like how it’s a requirement in order to graduate,” Bursk said. “It’s also annoying how students are required to earn 25 hours every year instead of allowing you to complete the full 100 hours in one year.

So how can we fix this? Volunteering should be optional. The dictionary defines volunteering as “freely offering to do something” and while rewarding hardworking students with a scholarship for their efforts is beneficial, the fact that it is only a small portion of money from a failing program doesn’t sound like any sort of working incentive to me.