Staff Editorial: Missing the Point: Domestic GO! Trips Are Important, Too

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Staff Editorial: Missing the Point: Domestic GO! Trips Are Important, Too

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One of Fordham’s main marketing points has been the Global Outreach (GO!) programs, which send students to local and international destinations for service and learning opportunities. Over the years, numerous students have signed up for these trips to fulfill Fordham’s Jesuit values of social justice and community service. Unfortunately, some of these GO! trips–particularly international trips–become voluntourism opportunities for students. After all, visiting foreign countries at a relatively cheap rate and in an immersive manner can be rather enticing. For this reason (among others) there has been a significant decrease in student interest and participation in domestic GO! trips. As a result, one trip has been canceled, and another one has been postponed.

The lack of interest in domestic projects also occurs in spite of their logistics. Domestic programs tend to be inexpensive in comparison with GO!’s international counterparts, and they are available in locations near New York, such as Camden, New Jersey. So while the reasons students are applying for international projects may be well-intentioned and founded in a sense of duty, there needs to be a more consistent effort made by the student body to acknowledge issues affecting communities within the country. With that recognition comes the effort and sacrifices required to address them.

In order to serve communities properly and truly be “men and women for others,” we must understand the values, customs and historical contexts of the communities we are helping. GO! has already initiated efforts to address issues of paternalism and privilege, a tremendous step in the right direction. But if the Fordham community is to effect change in the world, we must recognize that that change starts at and includes our home. GO! Florida has been cancelled, despite recently suffering hurricanes that have devastated communities. In GO! Chicago, there are still three leadership positions left empty due to a lack of interest.

Student apathy is something about which members of this current editorial board have written in the past, and it is an issue that we continually push members of the Fordham community to solve. An active community is a strong community, and when this apathy extends to efforts that the university attempts to organize to assist those in need, our community is at its weakest. The GO! Program and these communities need us to care, and even more so, we need to be introspective and ask ourselves if we truly care about our fellow human beings more than we care about getting to spend two weeks in a foreign country.