Noble Hour: A New and “Improved” Volunteer Hour Tracking System

Bishop Blanchet introduces a new tracking system to students in the 2019-2020 school year. Opinions are across the board. Let’s hear what the students have to say.

Julia Stander, Editor in Chief

Noble Hour is Bishop Blanchet’s new tracking system for the volunteer hours that students are required to have completed by the end of the school year. This new program has features that allow for students easy access to sign up sheets for volunteer opportunities and a way to easily view their current hours and amount of money raised. 

The differences this year include the extermination of “direct” and “indirect” hours (now all hours go under the same category) and now classes have a certain category or criteria they have to fit in order for these hours to be improved. For example, the senior’s category is the less fortunate, if they do something like volunteering at a pet shelter, those hours wouldn’t count. 

The categories for the classes might cause a problem for some students; they might not like to work in that field or they have a commitment to volunteering somewhere they love and now those hours won’t count towards their end-of-the-school-year goal of 20 hours. 

Freshmen are pretty much indifferent since they came into the school year not knowing anything different than Noble Hour; their category is helping creation. “They [hours done working with creation] are pretty easy to do with the organizations the school gives us” said freshman Maura Mansker, “I think it’s easy to submit your hours and quickly get the approved.” 

The way the new system works is you sign up for already pre-approved activities so you can skip the long and dreaded process of putting in lots of information about the event, and that is followed by an email from the coordinator and the head of Noble Hour tracking, long story short- it’s not an easy process to input your own hours.“I don’t know how to use the system at all,” said junior Jay An, “but it is really easy to see the updates, which is nice.” 

Jay makes a good point because we weren’t really given many instructions on how to use the actual app, or at least I don’t remember how to use it.

Other students agree with An in the consensus that x2vol was easier than the new Noble Hour, “I thought that x2vol was so much easier,” said junior Michael Schwartz, “and it stinks that we can’t volunteer where we want now.” 

The juniors’ category is to help the sick, which is kind of a weird category to me to be honest. I think that it’s kind of a weird one because the other categories are kids and animals which is super easy to find and actually fun because who doesn’t want to play with children and animals? But helping the sick just doesn’t sound like a very fun or attainable category of hours to me. 

Junior Quinn McCoy agrees, “I think the categories limit the volunteer opportunities.” 

Seniors, who have been around doing these volunteer hours for three years now definitely have their opinions about the new system. The seniors’ category is helping the less fortunate. The opinions from the seniors are across the board. Some support the new system, and some hate it. 

“I think its an easier system with a welcoming design and easy access,” said Cass Novosel, “I like the fact that it allows underclassmen who haven’t possibly served before warm up to going out and serving the community.” 

Another senior feels differently.

“The organizations need to be pre-approved so it really cuts down on the places that are available and easy for us to do service at,” said Erin Droppelman, “I very much dislike it.” 

The seniors make a good point- they have come this far with the old system, why make them change now. The way that its set up can cause problems for people who have been volunteering consistently at places for years now. 

“I’ve been volunteering at a soup kitchen for years now,” said senior Hana McFarlane, “fortunately it still counts for me, but if it didn’t, I would be very upset.” 

The person in charge of making sure students get their hours in, Mrs. Manon Cypher, thinks it’s been pretty a pretty successful trial. 

“I like how I can post opportunities for students right on there, and Noble Hour works a lot faster than x2vol did, but I do think that we need to educate the students on how to use it.” 

I propose that the coordinators of the Noble Hour system ditch the categories that confine the students. I know that their purpose was to get kids to reach out to do things that they wouldn’t normally do, but to be honest, just volunteering in itself is getting kids to do things they wouldn’t normally do. In my opinion, these kids are already having to do the hours, why critique them on how they complete the hours? At least they are doing them. 

Also, I still do not know how to use the app very well, I would have liked maybe an assembly where they could have put it up on the screen or maybe within our CP’s our teachers could have a brief introduction to the new app and the new guidelines. Maybe next year they can make some changes, as this was a trial year anyway.