By Victor Xie
Double dipping, verb. “Going to one community service event for two clubs for double the community service hours.” For example, “Oh man I double dipped at Turkey Trot for Interact and Key Club, so I got ten hours instead of just five!”
At first glance, many would say this is a good idea for staying active for those two clubs they genuinely enjoy. It’s a way to amass those service hours needed for your college or NHS (National Honor Society) application. But let’s be real; it’s not service. It’s cheating the system.
This problem traces back to what some people define community service to be. To many, it’s just something you should do to look good on your college apps. But to others, service is about helping the community, changing the world and doing what they love.
“Service to me means lending a helping hand and giving back to the community whether that be helping at a race or helping cleanup at a park or creek,” comments Key Club Lieutenant Governor Sabrina Huynh.
So why don’t clubs take action? My first guess would be that every club wants more active members and some clubs even have hour goals.
“Piedmont Hills Key Club [has]… an ambiguous goal to serve 9,500 hours by April,” says Sabrina.
With these hour goals in mind, clubs want members to go, even if they double dip. Some don’t even check for these double dipping instances.
“We look at all the [events] a student went to and tabulate all the hours for it. We do not go and double check if they got hours for multiple clubs,” says former CSF advisor Peggy Lee.
Another reason for double dipping may be because students don’t even know that it’s morally wrong.
“I don’t think double dipping has been defined by all the clubs so members [may not] know the consequences of it,” Sabrina points out.
These goals and laissez-faire attitudes may seem like a good excuse at the moment. However, this only invites members to continue double dipping and receive more hours than they deserve without any consequence.
In addition, I believe the school doesn’t take action because they have no idea how to solve this issue. Making hour verification mandatory gives all community service clubs grief and adds on to the awful mile-long list of ASB forms to fill out. It would also take an excruciatingly long time for NHS advisors to confirm that every community service event was not double dipped by a student.
Time spent doing community service should be fun and inspiring, not just another extracurricular to do for college. If students genuinely enjoy the clubs they are in, they should feel passionate enough to be active in them, without cheating. That means going to two five-hour service events instead of just one.
“If you only care about the hours, you miss out on so much more. Clubs have so much to offer on this campus than just numbers on an application,” says Red Cross President Vivian Lin.
So to all the double dippers out there, please stop. Our school is counting on our moral standards to do the right thing, and double dipping is a definite form of implicit cheating. When you double dip, you’re not doing real service. Instead, you’re completely undermining what these service organizations stand for: the importance of serving others.
At the end of the day, hours are just numbers. Passion to help the community is something much more meaningful.