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Progress in every possible direction is the Keynote of the social service report. More students are doing better work than every before; fewer have proved failures. Such a state of facts argues well for undergraduate interest in social betterment work.
In this connection it is interesting to consider the organization of similar enterprises at other colleges. The number of men doing social service work at five representative institutions in respectively; Cornell, 5; Pennsylvania, 100; Princeton, 90; Yale, 350; and Harvard, 360. The small number of social service workers at Cornell and Princeton is, of course, due in some measure to their location. Situated, as they are, in small communities, they lack the opportunities which proximity to populous cities affords.
Nevertheless, Harvard's large representation is encouraging. With it we find only two serious faults. In the first place, it is unfortunate that Harvard men do not volunteer to work unless they are urged to do so. Perhaps the peculiar atmosphere of New Haven may account for the strikingly large number of men there volunteering for work before receiving any request. Harvard men appear reluctant thus to come forward.
Secondly, no Harvard men are recorded as being engaged in unpaid summer work. The real advantage of social service work is the experience which it gives to the men engaged as teachers, entertainers, and so forth. The benefit to the men taught is only subordinate. If social service takes hold of the workers so slightly, if they lack that optimistic enthusiasm which stimulates such people as Miss Jane Addams and Mr. Jacob Riis, if they undertake their tasks only with a half-hearted and sentimental enthusiasm, then the result is sure to be obviously lacking in effect. If the social service workers take so little interest in their occupation that they drop it completely in the summer, then it is evident that they lack that enthusiasm which is the great heritage of social service work.
In spite of these two objections, however, it is very gratifying to note the great strides which are being made by members of the University along philanthropic lines. We hope that the improvement may continue to the end, that more men may become permeated with enthusiasm, that more efficient work may be accomplished, that the University may more nearly fulfill the duties which its position entails, and, finally, that the individuals may derive the full benefit which such work affords.
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