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Onslaught of "Ecotourism"
the editorial board
February 2, 2012

The lights dim as two students walk up to the stage. People smirk as they settle deeper into their seats, preparing for a mid-School Meeting nap.

A slideshow appears on the screen, inevitably showing images of a foreign community service adventure. Impoverished childrens’ faces flash on the screen, and Shakira sings a pseudo-ethnic ballad, produced by a board of American music moguls. The name of a worthy charity or organization is lost among the slides of students riding elephants, petting tigers, and eating colorful, spicy cuisine.

This kind of presentation occurs at least once weekly. The onslaught of “ecotourism” is not new, but it is enduring.

Each presentation is, in theory, supposed to educate the community about a service project. However, the abundance of these productions and their flashy “perks” (cue the safari trips, snorkeling, sightseeing) detract from the spirit of community service.

When deciding to travel abroad to help others, should we choose an organization because they have a more interesting tourist itinerary?

The goal of community service is obviously to aid the less fortunate. By now, the student body is aware that there are abundant opportunities to serve abroad. Is it necessary to have one of these presentations every week? Perhaps service projects near Greenfield, such as Second Helpings, should be more strongly publicized.