Letters from the Student Government

Letters+from+the+Student+Government

photo courtesy of Julia Henning

Parker Briggs, Nelson Athow, Eli Dugan, Sophia Wang, and Hannah Altayar

Inkwell asked the student government assembly of each Upper School division to prepare a letter for the student body, highlighting their activity since the school’s closure as well as their plans for the coming year. Below are responses from the Legislative Assembly of the Boys’ School, and the Student Life and Governance council of the Upper School for Girls.

The Legislative Assembly of the Boys’ School (LABS)

Since the closing of the Annie Wright campus, LABS has been finding new ways to serve the student body in our new remote learning environment. 

One of the most significant additions has been the creation of the official Upper School for Boys (USB) Discord server, designed to bridge the distance gap during virtual schooling. Boasting 17 text channels, 5 voice channels, and a membership comprising almost the entire USB, the server has opened up a number of new avenues for student connections. The server has also provided a platform for the new USB “Memes of the Week” competition, where students can submit memes to the “homemade,” “found” and “themed” categories. 

Finally, the server has facilitated the achievement perhaps most appreciated by students: the no-uniform petition. Over the course of just under 24 hours, the petition amassed a total of 54 votes in favor, thereby achieving the 90% necessary to abolish the uniform requirement for the remainder of the school year (yes, the USB was in uniform— from the waist up, at least— for almost six weeks of virtual schooling).

In addition, we have worked together with our faculty advisors to organize several quick games to play in advisory, such as “Name Five” and “Pictionary”, so that we might more fully utilize the short periods of time we have together as a community. Finally, we created the position of “Friday Flasher,” charged with distilling the most important information from the Friday Flash and the Dean’s Week Ahead Email for the student government to announce in our Wednesday meetings.

We are also looking forward to starting the next academic year with LABS finally having full (s)elective status, which will give us more time to better serve the USB community. Our terms begin and end at Spring Break, so the first full roster of representatives have already taken office and will continue serving next school year.

LABS representatives Nelson Athow and Eli Dugan

The Student Life and Governance council of the Upper School for Girls (SL&G)

Now that our community has been running in an online space for almost two months, SL&G has had many opportunities to learn how to best contribute to this remote community.  With the switch to online learning being so sudden, it may feel like everything is rash and unplanned, but we are here to reassure you that your student government has been working steadily to support our amazing community.  

As we first got the news that school would be closed for a long time, we got together to brainstorm possible challenges for the upcoming online education experience. We dove deeply into considering what the student needs would be in this new environment, and we wanted to ensure that we would not lose all strong academic and emotional support that we get when we are normally in school. 

After many meetings and conversations, we decided to create office hours with a spreadsheet sign up. This office hours sign up allows for the student to meet privately or in small groups in order to ensure that as many students that need help can have access to it!  It makes tutorial easier.  Hannah also reached out to Jenna Aynes to sort out the ways in which students could have an accessible sign up to meet with her.  All we wanted to do wanted to help make online education convenient and also keep our community together during this time. 

Another goal of ours was to try to incorporate as many of the same in school activities as we could into a virtual format.  A favorite community building venture was our creation of the USG Little Daily.  Using the website Padlet, all school members can complete fun challenges as a way of sharing what is going on with our day and helping us all stay a little more connected.  

In April, we hosted a virtual spirit week. We created various after school activities that are relevant to the costume theme of the day. We are very happy to see many students actively participating in these events, and made plans to create more fun activities for students, such as after school sessions hosted by rising seniors and faculties.  

One thing we really want to achieve is to enable students to still have experiences as if they are still on campus.  It is a challenging goal to achieve, but we are trying our best to offer students with activities that are interesting. We’ve had tea parties, yoga sessions, biscuit making lessons,  swap meets, and more.  We hope through these events, our community can bond and stay together. 

The rest of our year had a large focus on planning out all our usual end of year ceremonies such as departmental awards, step songs, and graduation. It was very important that online school ended with some closure and that it didn’t feel as simple as pressing the end call button. 

As for next year, some things are still unknown.  SL&G decided to postpone the officer elections until next fall.  We all agreed that elections work best when it happens in an actual setting. We also want to keep building our relationship with the USB, and find new ways to deliver exciting events for our community.  

 

SL&G representatives Sophia Wang and Hannah Altayar