2009-11-22

Reflection: Is the National Honors Society still about Honor?

After talking with a few friends and fellow students, I think I have fully (in my mind) fleshed out an opinion on our school's chapter of the National Honors Society. This, however, will solely focus on the recent cookie dough sale.
[Note]: Some of the things in this post may strike you as too controversial or offensive, and for that, I sincerely apologize. Though I have many grievances against the organization, (a) its core intentions are good and (b) it's not worth leaving when I only have a few months of school left so I am staying in the organization.
Furthermore, I want to say to those NHS officers who may be reading this that this is in no way meant as an attack on your person or character. This is meant to just be my thoughts about the organization as a whole, and if you find this offensive, I sincerely apologize. [/Note]
Other people in this organization (who also don't like the organization's current modus operandi) have said that the current state of affairs has only been true for the last year or 2. Before, the NHS was much more dedicated to actual community service, though they did not participate in as many events overall. Fundraising was not a priority.
Now, members must sell (under the threat of revocation of membership or other penalty) 4 tubs of cookie dough at $15.00 each (for those NHS graduates reading this, they raised the price by $1/tub). This is true for the fall and spring cookie dough sales. The fall one is understandable as the proceeds go to helping villages in Kenya. The spring one, though: do we really need that much money to continue operating? Or is Ms. Cresham just wasting a lot of money on who-knows-what?
Furthermore, why must members sell 4 tubs of cookie dough? I think it's perfectly fair to ask 15 hours of service each year towards NHS. This is the kind of service the organization should focus on. By contrast, selling requires people to want to buy cookie dough; this also requires finding buyers.
I know this may seem a little odd or offensive, but I just can't help but notice a cultural difference in selling cookie dough. Almost all of the "big sellers" that Ms. Cresham touts are Caucasian; props to them for their great sales. Yet, almost all of the people who complain about not being able to sell cookie dough are not Caucasian. From my own experience, cookie dough is not a hot seller with Indian families; yes, families might buy a tub, but it will last a very long time. By contrast, families here will buy a lot because they can finish that much by the time the next cookie dough sale comes around. My emphasis is not on how much one can eat but on how much a Caucasian American family vs. an immigrant Asian family actually wants the food. That said, I'm not trying to disparage Indian people - quite the opposite: maybe the NHS should try selling dough used for making samosas. Even then, though, there's a lot more emphasis (as far as I've seen) on cooking fresh food from scratch in Indian families (and presumably other Asian families as well), whereas here, families are a lot more receptive to premade foods like cookie dough. Even my cousin who bakes often makes her own dough; she doesn't use stuff like premade cookie dough.
Another thing to point out, as Ms. Cresham herself points out at the beginning of this cookie dough sale, is that the people who sell crazy amounts of dough do so because their parents have huge connections. This is perfectly fine with me; that said, not everyone is so well connected to people who would be so willing to fund an enterprise like the NHS.
Because of the issues of ethnicity (and the resulting affinity or revulsion towards premade cookie dough) and business connections (and the resulting success or failure to sell large amounts of cookie dough), why must students sell 4 tubs of dough? Many of the people who I talked to who were complaining about this minimum genuinely could not sell 4 tubs - they had to buy some (or all) themselves, and then they have to finish those tubs (without being able to cook them as no one in the house knows how); I was also in the position of having to buy a tub of cookie dough for myself (though the stuff is actually good, so this reason is only partially true to the argument).
I think it's fine that the organization is doing the cookie dough sale; I just think forcing members to sell a minimum number of tubs is too fraught with problems. I think the NHS should mandate members to participate in other activities for hours. I'm fine with them requiring members to do the Miniwalk (though I'm still not OK with the mandatory $15 for the (invariably oversized) shirt and donation). More such actual service requirements would be much greater appreciated (at least from my end).

No comments:

Post a Comment