Posters with this slogan were anonymously plastered around the school on Wednesday, November 30th. In an attempt to make Student Council seem hidden and corrupt, the posters revealed something important: most students have no idea what Student Council is or what it does.
A school wide survey was distributed by Student Council in November and conducted by the TA Representatives. The first question on the survey asked:
“Do you know what Student Council is and/or what it does?”
For those TAs who responded to the surveys, only 44% responded yes, and only 60% of those who said yes were sure of their answers. That means that only about a quarter of the student body really knows what their own Student Council does.
Another question in the survey asked students to use three words to describe the school culture and climate.
- 49% of TAs chose words with negative connotations, such as boring or stressful.
- 44% chose positively connotated words, such as accepting or fun.
- 8% of TAs chose neutral words such as “academic.”
What do these results say about how we are building the culture of U-32?
Out of the 36 high school TAs that returned the survey, one of the words most frequently used to describe our school was “cliquey.”
“You can obviously tell what the different cliques are… you can see the big table in the lunchroom or the senior lounge packed with the popular people, and then the small tables around the outside with just a few people,” explained Senior Jasmine Moody, of Dave Bazis’s TA. “It’s hard for them to get a seat at the big table.”
While Moody did say that the Council has gotten students involved in the community, as with the recent Clothing Drive, she also said that there wasn’t enough communication between the school and its students.
Junior Stephen Looke, a new addition to the Council this year, has experienced this lack of communication first hand. “Last year when I decided to join Student Council, I wanted to increase the student voice because I was going around school like ‘man, I sure wish there was this group of students who I could go to that could help do stuff with the administration.’ Then I found out that’s Student Council.”
This realization prompted Looke to get involved and run for Student Council. He began a long-term Student Voices committee right off the bat in his new position. He also designed the recent survey that was distributed to TAs.
Looke describes a common experience of Student Council Representatives. Despite his efforts to create a smooth line of communication with students and gauge what they want, he quickly became frustrated with the lack of cooperation. He explains that, “some of the TAs were like ‘nah we don’t care,’ and it’s frustrating because how are we supposed to do stuff if we don’t know what students want us to do?”
Just like the posters that plastered the hallways just a few weeks ago, Looke explains this negative culture around Student Council. “There’s people who I talk to who are like ‘Oh you’re on Student Council you don’t do anything. You can’t get anything done.’ And I think if students told us what they actually wanted us to do, and we did it for them, they could see that we can actually do stuff.”
Looke has one major goal for the rest of the year: “If we can do something that people will talk about in the hallway, and I can walk down the hall and hear people talking about Student Council doing something, that would be great.”
The Council hopes that they can increase dialogue between Student Council Representatives, like Looke, and students, like Moody, who have a lot of ideas for how we can improve our school for the better.
The Student Council highly encourages students to attend meetings, which take place every Wednesday morning at 7 am in Kit Walker’s room. Students are welcome to observe, or bring an issue to the table.
Visit the Student Council Website to see more specifically what Student Council does, upcoming events, agendas, meeting minutes, or to make an online suggestion.