The announcement last night that the Cabinet of Phillips Brooks House has accepted the constitution prepared by a special committee climaxes the swift, continuous series of growing pains enjoyed by the House in the past three years. The effect of this growth can be noticed in such phases of P. B. U. work as the Social Service Committee, which this fall has sent an amazing number of student volunteers to the scattered settlement houses of Greater Boston, and also in the Personnel Adviser. Now the development and concentration of all phases has been accomplished by the drawing up of a constitution, through which the House will in future act.
One of the main purposes of the document was to give definite importance to the position of Vice-president; by placing him in charge of the Freshman Committee, whose place in P. B. H. is a central one, the Cabinet has carried out this objective to perfection. Selecting twelve to fifteen Freshmen each fall for the Committee is a task not to be scorned as menial, but to be considered rather as a responsibility which only a capable man can fulfill. And the holding of a competition in the spring is a handy device for permitting Sophomores and Juniors to make an official position.
Besides stating the functions of all officers and describing the methods for appointments and elections, the constitution, in the preamble, attempts to define the theoretical purposes behind P. B. H. and to offer reasons for its existence. The conception is fundamental and sound that, besides acting as a center for the spreading of social, religious, and educational ideas, the duty of the House is to make the student volunteer aware of his obligation to his own community and on the basis of that awareness offer him the first chance to use his education valuably and practically for the benefit of the underprivileged and uneducated. The purpose of education should not be merely the acquiring of knowledge, but the ability to translate knowledge so it will be useful and beneficial to a society which in general lacks education and constantly seeks new directions of guidance. The student who leaves Harvard without feeling an obligation to make himself and his education of benefit to the community in which he will eventually settle has gained little not of selfish value.
For the first time in a decade a re-adoption of creed, a pillar on which to suspend the machinery of P. B. H., a reaffirmation of the idealism that must in the end enliven an organization founded in memory of Bishop Brooks--these have been placed on paper. Thus a recent growth of activity in Harvard's charitable institution has been climaxed; with the constitution the denouement should be effective and long.