Viewing social responsibility as being solely about others is good and cute and quaint, but ultimately it’s the wrong perspective. Part of social responsibility is about serving the community’s best interests, even if they don’t align with yours. But a neglected part of social responsibility is pursuing what serves you, which in turn serves your community. Here’s what I mean.
I applied to be a Frog Camp facilitator for some good and pure reasons. My Frog Camp experience had been so instrumental in shaping me as a Horned Frog, and I wanted to influence incoming students and aid in their acclimation to the university. But I also applied for me. I wanted to grow; I wanted to reap the benefits of facilitating; I wanted to have fun; I wanted to develop meaningful relationships. And all of those selfish desires allowed me to have a positive social impact on others.
You could say I had a small detrimental impact by being selected as a facilitator which meant one more person who applied was not selected, but ultimately I was able to serve and better the TCU community because I pursued a positive experience for myself. I was selfish and self-sacrificial, and both the university and myself reaped the rewards. Altruism and compassion must remain central tenets, but people will more actively pursue social responsibility when service and self-benefits intertwine.
Sparknotes: Pursue what’s best for you in light of what’s best for the community.
– Jared Lax, TCU Student