New requirements for outreach ask for

Beginning next year, students will be required to complete only one half day community service project, as opposed to the current 12-hour minimum requirement if a student does a solo project or doing one collaborative outreach project.

The Community Council officially announced the new requirement while giving out Dippin’ Dots and cookies on Friday, under a banner bearing the words “Make a Difference.”  The Council is a 15-student group formed last March that will run the community service program next year.

The half day project must be hands-on.  It can either be one of many the Community Council plans to organize next year, or it can be planned by a group of four or more Harvard-Westlake students.Chaplain Father J. Young, an adviser to the Council, indicated that the requirement might be increased in the future and possibly be removed altogether at some point.

“One thought is to work towards making community service at H-W so integral to what we do that a requirement isn’t even necessary at all,” Young said.  “We chose to start with the half day for next year as a sort of bare minimum.”

Council member Taylor Hooks ’09 said the change in the program is supposed, in the long run, to get people more involved in helping the community.

“It’s not about how many hours you do,” Hooks said.  “We didn’t want a counting system, we wanted people to do something that matters to them. We want people going out there and actively affecting whatever cause that they’re working for.”
Another major change is the elimination of the Benefacta Award, which honored students who went above and beyond the required number of hours.  Young and Director of Student Affairs Jordan Church, who also advises the Council, said that new awards may be instituted next year.

“We will definitely continue to acknowledge such students and are investigating various options for doing so,” Young said.