February 25, 2016

We The Students

Jordan Mayor ‘18

Student Council is supposed to be one of the most powerful and influential organizations in the school and with a new Student Council cycle starting it is an appropriate time to reflect on the previous Council’s accomplishments and failures. This is so that the new Council may learn from past experiences and improve upon the organization.
January of last year featured a Council composed of three juniors and two sophomores, and led by Señora Bakerman. The Council discussed many initiatives such as the installation of water bottle re-fillers and the changing of last year’s lunch program. However, none of those initiatives were accomplished during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students did not find it surprising that Student Council was ineffective and unproductive during the 2014-2015 school year, as few students can recall many Council accomplishments from any year and do not expect much from the organization.
When a group of sophomores was asked about what Student Council has accomplished in the past, sophomore Jake Halpern most notably replied jokingly, “We have a student council?”
This not only summarized the opinion of the group, but also the majority of the student body. Senior Jacob Gutstein also feels that the one thing Student Council has done is generate prestigious titles for college applications for the students elected to the governmental body. While this is a topic that is often joked about, this recurring joke, like many others, stems from truth.
Due to students preconceived notions about Student Council, when the new year started there was no reason for them to think this year would be any different. Once again, it would be a factory for distinguished college applications.
According to newly-elected Student Council Vice President and sophomore Sam Russo, the Council in which he served as Secretary started out no different. Russo said that when they began to push for the implementation of their ideas it was futile. The council felt the administration was unresponsive to them, while the administration felt the Council was not fulfilling their role.
“Whatever the reason,” Russo added, “it was unproductive.”
Ms. Heller, the Council’s faculty adviser, echoed Russo’s sentiments.
“There was a problem with communication between the Council and the administration,” she said, “and something just wasn’t working. It had to be fixed.”
Although Student Council’s productivity is far from perfect, most people involved with the organization feel it has gotten better the past couple of months.
Outgoing President and senior Leia Kessler traces student council’s improved productivity back to a discussion they had with the Head of School, Mr. Shapiro and attributes it to this.
“He told us that he has wanted Student Council to do something for sometime and he clearly outlined what we had to do in order to get something done,” she said.
This discussion clearly affected Student Council as shortly afterwards, it placed an order for water bottle re-fillers as the first step in their GOA Green initiative. The water fountains were installed this past December and are now in use daily.

Although this is only one accomplishment on the record, it was still a huge step forward. The student body can only hope that this “huge step forward” will not just become an anomaly, but rather a continued new era of productivity.


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