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What is altruism?

Earlier this week, we watched a TED Talk from a man named Peter Singer. In this speech, he emphasizes the impact of effective altruism. We have a big debate in class about what can be classified as effective altruism. I think that Peter Singer is accurate in his statements to a certain extent. I think that any kind of altruism can be effective because, at the end of the day, you are helping those who are in need of help. I don’t feel completely obligated to help those in need because I also have to take care of myself. With that being said, I think that everybody should take the time to go volunteering and helping those in need. I wish I had the time to volunteer more as a college student, and I plan on committing more time to volunteerism over the next three and a half years of college. I think that seeing the impact that you can have on someone’s life through something as simple as volunteerism is something that cannot be understated. It’s such a heartwarming feeling that I don’t see how anyone could not enjoy volunteering. As a member of a Greek fraternity on campus, I plan on representing the fraternity through volunteering opportunities. In addition, I am hoping to join a student organization on campus that goes out on volunteering events. Though the time commitment might be a problem, I think that the benefit that I can gain from volunteering easily outweighs the costs.

1 Comment

  1. Like you, I wish that I spent more time here at OU volunteering with the community. I understand it can be hard to fit community service into a busy schedule of classes and extracurriculars, especially if — like me — you don’t have a car on campus. Peter Singer’s talk did hit me hard because it made me think about how much I could be giving that I’m not. Still, with that said, I didn’t agree with everything he had to say. In particular, I didn’t like the way he pushed for “effective” altruism as if it is the only kind of altruism that matters. I believe that people should support the causes they feel the most connected to rather than the ones that have the biggest impact.

    For me personally, I am looking forward to participating in The Big Event, which is one day in the spring semester when OU students go out into the community for a day full of community service. I know it is only one day, but I really like what it stands for.

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