Monday, May 05, 2008

Dartmouth has the nicest in the Ivy League

Ms. Maura Pennington '08 wrote a letter to the editor in response to Amelia Rawls' op-ed piece in the Washington Post. Rawls contended that the students at top universities lack the compassion to be completely selfless; she suggests that our good deeds are merely ploys to pad our resumes. Ms. Rawls had this to say about our success and community service:
I'm not saying different. I'm saying that sometimes some of these students will denounce world hunger but be unfriendly to the homeless. They will debate environmental policy but never offer to take out the trash. They will believe vehemently in many causes but roll their eyes when reminded to be humble, to be generous and to "do what is right."

It is these people, though, who often climb America's ladder of success. They rise to the top, partly on their own merits yet also partly on the backs of equally deserving but "nicer" people who let them steal the spotlight.

Pennington countered with her Dartmouth experience saying that she has met innumerable "nice" classmates who have given her faith in our characters. A quote from her letter:
I have found more classmates than I can name who are caring, conscientious, compassionate and downright nice.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Might some of this be due to the difference between Hanover and New Haven, a small-town community versus a crowded metropolis.

Is there any correlation to the differences between rural and semi-rural red states and cosmopolitan blue states? Or even red/blue counties within states? (This is a generalization about voters, not the partisan politicians who represent them.)

Or with the fact that the middle class who live in the "heartland" states give a greater portion of their wealth to charity than the affluent city-dwelling elites?

Niceness seems to fade as people become more densely packed into crowded-but-impersonal man-made (unnatural) settings. When you walk across campus, it is easy to say hello to the dozen people you pass, 6 who you know and even the 6 who are strangers. It is impossible to say hello to the hundreds of people you pass walking a single block in Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Might some of this be due to the difference between Hanover and New Haven, a small-town community versus a crowded metropolis.

Is there any correlation to the differences between rural and semi-rural red states and cosmopolitan blue states? Or even red/blue counties within states? (This is a generalization about voters, not the partisan politicians who represent them.)

Or with the fact that the middle class who live in the "heartland" states give a greater portion of their wealth to charity than the affluent city-dwelling elites?


No.

Anonymous said...

Niceness seems to fade as people become more densely packed into crowded-but-impersonal man-made (unnatural) settings. When you walk across campus, it is easy to say hello to the dozen people you pass, 6 who you know and even the 6 who are strangers. It is impossible to say hello to the hundreds of people you pass walking a single block in Manhattan.

Yes.