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Yesterday, I reported on the campus outrage at Rutgers University over TDX’s breast cancer signs. Well, now we have more idiots coming out of the woodwork who hate when fraternities do good things for the community. Alpha Tau Omega at Bowling Green University goes “homeless” every year for their philanthropy. In the event, they spend a week in the union oval in boxes and collect money for a local food pantry. Nothing wrong with that, right?
Well, some Bowling Green alumni doesn’t care for the event to the point that they had to blog about her outrage. The argument was broken down into three separate points.
This representation of homelessness is doing nothing to break down the stigma and stereotypes concerning people who are experiencing homelessness; in fact, it is reinforcing it.
By living in the middle of the school, without shelter, they are representing any typical homeless person you would find in any city. These guys aren’t trying to be heroes, they are just trying to help out.
They even rotate in “shifts of homelessness” between classes, work, and their social life; all of which are privileges.
Yeah, they are students after all. Skipping a whole week of class and work could A) get them fired for not showing up and B) leave them way behind in class. But hey, let’s just attack those privileges even though the end game is to raise awareness and money for the local food bank.
I was deeply offended by the way that this organization’s philanthropy seemed to capitalize on a specific image of poverty in order to make them look like good, charitable students. If this activity was really to give the organization members the experience of homelessness, why did it need to happen in the middle of campus, where everyone can see it?
So now when we do philanthropy events, we can’t even come off as altruistic. I’ll tell you why it needed to happen in the middle of campus where everyone can see it: it’s because they are trying to raise money. Where do they get money? People on campus that are passing by. You want them to set up shop in an alley where no one can see them? They aren’t making any money. No money means no cash for the local food bank. No cash for the local food bank hurts the homeless.
Stop lambasting them for doing good and maybe celebrate the fact that they are raising awareness and money for a cause that you take to heart.
If you’re trying to help out, you can donate here.
This is what happens when one fraternity tries to be philanthropic, but are misunderstood.