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The annual Social Service Conference was held last night in Phillips Brooks House. E.D. Smith '12, a past Social Service Secretary, told what might be gained by volunteer settlement work, and enumerated, first, a practical background for academic work; second, an ability to depict and manage men and boys; third, a meaning and substance in place of abstract ideas; last, a larger knowledge of the integral parts which compose society.
Mr. A. R. Williams, of the Maverick Congregational Church, East Boston, described the attitude of the people of the slums toward Harvard men, and pointed to the necessity of closer contact if men of the more privileged classes are to be of real service in solving the tremendous problems to which city conditions give rise, the essential problem of democracy, and all those kindred problems that depend upon an optimistic confidence in the rich resources of the human soul. Emotional as well as intellectual conviction is an essential of power to do good.
Dean Briggs, following a short talk by A. F. Pickernell '14 on settlement work, sounded a warning note to those men whose tendency it might be to lose their balance in enthusiasm for the practical, intense nature of the work. "Do not try to get the experience of manhood all at once. Remember that the Master you all follow, who gave his life to social service, led in his early years, an almost unrecorded life." Settlement work has great value as a laboratory course, complementary to academic theory, and if it is modestly and moderately pursued cannot fail to make the undergraduate "a better student and a larger man."
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