It is unfortunate that the average undergraduate is not better acquainted with the work of Phillips Brooks House. He thinks of it, in general, as a rather benevolent institution that is continually requesting him for money (which he hasn't) or magazines (which he doesn't want) or old clothes (which he usually has on). But Phillips Brooks House does have other functions besides finding strange room-mates for even stranger Freshmen, and bothering us with printed questionnaires which would make the War Department green with envy. It possesses the main qualification of a "true Bostonian,"--to wit: a High Moral Purpose in life. That it lives up to this standard may be learned by diligent perusal of its spring statement which appears as usual, this year, under the title of "Annual Report."
Brooks House performs a double function in the University. First, by social welfare work, it attempts to bring the undergraduate into close contact with the problems of industrial life. The student who teaches a group of illiterate immigrants gains some idea of the trials and hardships undergone by others less fortunate than himself. The pupils, on the other hand, learn that the "aristocrats" from college are just as human as themselves.
Besides this more practical side, Phillips Brooks House gives many undergraduates their first glimmering realization of the important fact that religion is not necessarily impracticable and unreal, but is merely applied idealism,--in other words, service.
This year's report shows that the welfare work has been enlarged to its prewar dimensions, and that Brooks House now includes every department of the University. As an added indication of the broadened scope of its activity a missionary has been sent to Constantinople. Every year brings fresh evidence that Brooks House is alive to the problems of the day and is expanding to meet them in an effective way.