Letter to the Editor 11/3/16

Letter to the Editor 11/3/16

I am sorry, Mr. or Ms. Editor, but you have made a mistake. I served at the Botanical Heights neighborhood with my sorority sisters for Make a Difference Day (MADD). We cleaned a playground, made a garden and painted the streets. I spent most of my time at the playground, overrun with weeds, grass, trash, and the woodchips that covered the playground were almost gone. I had to use a shovel to dig up the weeds because they were so embedded, and then I hand-picked them and threw them away. It was not easy, and it did not make me “feel good.” While I was working on the playground, a mom and her daughter (almost 2 years old) came to play and swing. The little girl came up to me, and we talked and played. I was able to see an actual life that was impacted by cleaning this playground. To that little girl, the playground meant the world. When they left, the little girl thanked me and waved. Our work had purpose. Just when my back was starting to hurt and I was started to feel tired, I was given that little girl as a reminder of why I was there and who I am — a Billiken.

On the outside looking in, MADD may have looked like a headache for the people who had to organize it, but to say that it was a waste of time is ignorant. To say that it was just to make students “feel good” is false. Trust me, sleeping in and taking a hot shower would have “felt better.” But making us feel “good” was not what that event was about. That little girl may not have realized what I was doing, but her mom noticed and cared. Even though I can’t say I caused huge change, I did make a small one.

MADD might not have ended racism, dissolved housing segregation, rid the city of litter or solved every injustice in the world, but we did make a difference. But barriers are broken and change begins when the people of the community see college students up early on a Saturday morning (unheard of) to serve.

If SLU decides that things like Make a Difference Day are “meaningless,” we will have lost what SLU is all about. 20,000+ hours of service, what we completed on MADD, makes a difference in our city! Last year, SLU students completed 1.6 million hours of service. And MADD is only a sixth of the time students spend serving.

Make a Difference Day is a symbol of what SLU is, and an impactful one at that. SLU is a community of people that serves others. I am a woman for others. I am a Billiken, and I can’t think of a better way to spend my time than at Make a Difference Day.

Betsy Bartle, freshman

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