Social Responsibility

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Is it more important for universities (as educational institutions that create critical-thinking individuals) to put social responsibility over cost for students?

For example, let’s say a university is holding a social for every student and staff member. This social involves food and inevitably also requires plates for each person to hold that food. Given that the plates are going to run into the thousands (what with people coming up for seconds and thirds and separate desert plates), the cost of such plates are going to be in the hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Compound this by the number of such events the university holds throughout the year.

Students protest increases to the cost of attending the university (materials, fees, tuition, etc), and a large part of that cost covers operational expenses (including plates for events). It would be within the university’s best fiscal interest to get the cheapest plates possible.

At the same time, universities have a (if only expected) social responsibility. They teach equality, tolerance, respect and so forth for humans, animals and the environment. In this instance, it would be socially responsible for the university to use plates that are made from recycled materials. Better yet, they could use porcelain plates that can be washed and reused. Of course, both of these options incur a larger cost (more expensive to purchase, and in the latter case, staffing costs to wash them).

So which is more important? Cheaper or more socially responsible?

3 thoughts on “Social Responsibility

  1. If I was a student at a university and the choice was given to me I would tell them to scrap the socials to save the money and therefore making my costs lower. I don’t need socials.. If I wanted to be around people I would get together with a few friends and do something. I would not need to be at a function that had literally thousands of people there eating a bunch of food that I normally would not eat nor even want to know what I was eating.

    So I vote for cheaper.

  2. i’d replace the grand socials with petit socials or salons organised to relfect various interests that encourage campus communities (in dynamic, not geography) . But you’d still need the plates. The thing is that universities host so many events for so many reasons (fund-raising, to openings, guest lectures, films, conventions, etc.) that it is well worth the one time investment to buy the plates – instead of paying a caterer for them each and every time, or buying disposal plates each and every time. The latter being an ecologically-evil-expendature in comparison.

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