After a good deal of labor spent in vigorous canvassing, the compaign for the Phillips Brooks House fund has achieved the quota set. Knowing the worthy objects for which the fund has been collected, one must congratulate Brooks House on its hard-earned success. At the same time one may wonder, in view of the purpose, why the success should be hard-earned, why the average undergraduate appears to possess so little of the philanthropic spirit.
That the lack of this spirit is not a common heritage of students in every college is seen in the popularity and the success of the Y. M. C. A. at Yale and the Philadelphian Society at Princeton. It is therefore more probable that what Harvard undergraduate lack is not philanthropy but interest, or perhaps an atmosphere like that at the other two colleges. After the average undergraduate climbs beyond the freshman class, Phillips Brooks House is liable to become little more than a name to him, and in view of this condition it is really remarkable that Brooks House is able to raise four thousand dollars.
When the philanthropic societies at Yale and Princeton are thriving bodies, tha cause of lack of interest at Harvard becomes a question worthy of some attention. What draws the freshman, perhaps, is the novelty of doing for the first time some form of welfare work, or a feeling of obligation to do something unselfish. After the first year either the undergraduate loses interest because of developments within himself, or the atmosphere at Harvard is unpropitious to philanthropy,-of Brooks House itself, through some vital lack, fails to hold his interest longer. It is important for the future of the society and of the college to recognize the problem and if possible its cause.