COURSE IN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
The Prospect Union is not just another of those extra-curricular activities "deserving of undergraduate support." Its special significance for Harvard at this time lies in the fact that it offers the best and perhaps the only opportunity for College men to meet grown men from a really different social stratum on something like a common basis.
Many of us are inclined to forget our social responsibility. There was a convention in the Middle Ages that the privileged class--the nobility--owed a certain debt to the poor. The titled nobility, we hope, has dropped out of our civilization; but there is still a privileged class; and while all men and women have a duty to the community, those who receive the most from the community have in return the greatest obligation. The danger is lest college men forget this obligation and regard college only as a help to personal advancement. Dr. Daniel Hunt Clare, speaking at the Colgate centennial, well expressed the peril.
"Nothing could be more fatal to our country," he said, "than to have its college men become a separate caste, alienated from the experiences and aspirations, and estranged in sympathy and understanding from the burdens and sorrows of the great masses of men. There is no danger of such alienation springing from absorption in learning or in scholastic interests. The danger will come, if at all, in viewing a college course exclusively as the surest way to material success and personal gain."
Ideals are very apt to disappear in the struggle for a living. Nevertheless college men, who have the opportunity to do some of that detached, impersonal thinking which often provides such good social medicine, are through their situation well fitted to see and work for the good of the whole community. To these the Prospect Union offers a liberal field. It is continuing in its purpose "to bring into mutual beneficent contact all classes and groups in the community." It is a sincere attempt to break down the barriers of misunderstanding between classes.