“Senior Service Day” change signals new steps for MISH

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“Senior Service Day” change signals new steps for MISH

Sarah Faber, Social Media Manager

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For years, Senior Service Day has raised hundreds of dollars for a good cause. Underclassmen flock to the senior class board, eager to “rent a senior”.  Once they have paid ten dollars, to be donated to a charity that changes yearly, students can have any service provided to them by their senior, within limits. On Senior Service Day, seniors might dress in ridiculous outfits, bring Chiptole back to campus for their assigned upperclassman, or serenade someone in the middle of math class.

However, this year, the concept of senior service day will be altered. Instead of renting people, which had raised concerns, students will be buying specific services. Seniors will provide services, such as picking up Starbucks or painting a portrait.

The day was first instituted by Davin Michaels, Senior MISH representative of the class of 2000. Originally, the day was proposed as a “Senior Slave Auction”, where students would bid on seniors, but the idea never got off the ground.

“What we were told by Ms. Torino and Mr. Ives is that we couldn’t sell people anymore, which makes a lot of sense,” Campbell Ives, MISH Co-Chair said. “We have some pretty creative services that people are offering, like photoshopping a meme, or poetry, dance performances, arts. We have a really cool, diverse list of things that kind of didn’t happen before in the past.”

We have a really cool, diverse list of things that kind of didn’t happen before in the past”

— Campbell Ives, Senior MISH Representative

The decision behind the change came after multiple complaints cropped up about the way Senior Service Day used to run. The administration was not only uncomfortable with the connection to slavery but also concerned about students who might not get bought feeling bad, while others got bought in minutes. “I hope that the seniors embrace it. I think that, quite honestly, it could be a way to raise more money, because one person could offer more than one service,” Matthew Ives, Head of the Upper School, said. “One person would buy lunch for five people for five dollars each, and now you’ve raised 25 dollars.”

In addition to changing the way services will be bought, a new rule that will be instituted this year will be the prohibition of cross-dressing. “I think the idea that you would ask someone to dress in drag to embarrass them, for me, you wouldn’t, for example, ask a student to dress in blackface,” Ives said. “Quite honestly, nobody came to me and said that that’s insulting, but those are the sorts of things we worry about.”

Usually, the money made from Senior Service Day goes to Jonestown or other organizations that MISH has a connection to, but the senior MISH representatives are opening up the option to the entire senior class to choose an organization. Dena Torino, the Director of MISH, hopes that the change will help bring more focus to the reason it happens, to help others: “I had begun asking a lot of questions. My assumption was that is was a service event, which is common among independent schools, but it usually involves seniors going off campus to local organizations to volunteer,” Torino said. “An event like that where you’re taking 120 kids off campus and coordinating with 10-12 organizations takes time and coordination that we didn’t have this year.” Torino adds that she hopes that this change will be the first step to making Senior Service Day “more about actual service.”

Are you in favor of the Senior Service Day change?

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