An Analysis of Motivations for Donating to the Annual Can Drive

Shawon+Paul+%E2%80%9918+holds+up+a+can+and+advocated+for+students+to+donate+to+fulfill+the+goal+of+3%2C000+cans.+This+goal+was+reached+in+December+2017+for+the+first+time+at+Bronx+Science.++

Ahana Chowdhury

Shawon Paul ’18 holds up a can and advocated for students to donate to fulfill the goal of 3,000 cans. This goal was reached in December 2017 for the first time at Bronx Science.

Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement once said, “There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

Over 60,000 homeless people live in the New York City shelter system, not including the many unaccounted people living on the streets, across all five boroughs. Although people talk about resolving world hunger, there are thousands of people who do not get enough nutrition each day because they live in poverty. For this reason, canned food drives are held across communities to help those who do not have the resources themselves.

“Although it is true that students should strive to donate no matter what the incentive is, the truth of the matter is that we do need an incentive. The prospect of having no homework for one day, or more, truly speaks to the student body’s wishes,” said Xiao Zeng ’19.

However, the Canned Food Drive at Bronx Science has not been as successful historically as some of the other fundraising events that our student body has taken part in. Although Bronx Science has come close to the goal of 3,000 donated cans in previous years, it’s been a long time since the students were able to meet the goal itself. For the first time ever, the students reached and exceeded the goal in December 2017, with a total of 3,036 cans. This all leads back to what motivates the students to donate in the first place.

Ahana Chowdhury
Swara Kalva ’18 sets an example as she places a can into the box for the Can Drive.

Most students think that the one day without homework will not make a great difference in terms of donation as they will still have conditions such as long term projects to complete and tests for which to study. However, there are two different interpretations of this fact. Some students feel that if the number of “no homework” days were increased, the students would have more of a motivation to donate cans.

“Although it is true that students should strive to donate no matter what the incentive is, the truth of the matter is that we do need an incentive. The prospect of having no homework for one day, or more, truly speaks to the student body’s wishes,” said Xiao Zeng ’19.

The question of needing an incentive comes up as many students need motivation in order to put in effort. This leads to the predicament of human nature and the need to benefit personally in order to get things done. Jeanette Lee ’18 said, “It’s unfortunate that we need an incentive to help people in need, but realistically, everyone is so busy with their work that they need to have something to look forward to in order to go out of their way.”

The results of a Bronx Science Can Drive survey which was conducted for this article.

According to a survey that I sent out to the school, of the 101 participants, 41.6% believe that students need more “no homework” days to donate. Another popular opinion is that people should donate out of the goodwill of their hearts, as 36.6% of the students surveyed believe that students should help out and donate the canned goods as it is for a good cause.

“Many people need a lot of supplies and aid because they need help and can’t support themselves. As far as I know, no matter what social class you are in, you should always help those in need, because every donation counts, big or small,” said Shaira Ahmed ’20.

Many Bronx Science students empathize with those who are underprivileged, although most of these students haven’t experienced what it feels like to be on the side where ‘the grass isn’t as green.’ Drives such as the Can Drive help students to realize the importance of aiding people who need the help. Yan Fen (Yanny) Liang ’19 said, “Often at Bronx Science, a lot of us don’t realize the privilege that we have in having food on the table every day.”

The survey also showed that students felt that other students don’t donate because they were doubtful that the goal of collecting 3,000 cans could be accomplished, as it wasn’t reached in recent years. “The reward for the cans is not really thought highly of because it doesn’t provide immediate satisfaction and that either means a lot of work the day before or after,” said Issabella Huynh ’20.

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