Think Like a President: The Importance of Student Council

EF Academy is a unique school to say the least, and it’s also a young school, making Student Council’s role here in New York more important than ever. Together with my two Vice Presidents, Bella Sunthornpong and Frank Liu, our Student Council motto is:  “To be there for the student body, and to hear from the student body.”  This year, we have an unprecedented level of engagement, with 65 members and 8 committees, Student Council is bigger than ever. I have no doubt we will accomplish great things together.

How does our Student Council work?

On Mondays, we have our Student Council Assembly, where my Vice Presidents and I make important announcements, and open the floor to hear from the students. This is their opportunity to bring up any concerns, ideas, and thoughts that they want us to communicate to the administrators on campus. Our Activities Director Ms. Aquina, our Facilities Director Mr. Hirschmugl, our Housing Director Mr. Johnson, and our headmaster Dr. Mahoney are the main administrators who Bella, Frank and I report to after our assembly. All the members of administration at EF Academy make it a priority to hear from the student body about how things are going on campus, allowing us to respond to the student body in the fastest and most efficient way. Being the bridge that connects the student body to the administration is our key role as Student Council Executives, but this is only where the fun begins.

Student Council Committees

Throughout the week, eight of our Student Council Committees meet to brainstorm, plan, and carryout plans of action for their objectives. As of now we have committees for housing, dining, events, academics, fundraising, volunteering, journalism, environmentalism, and more. If a student wants to create a committee for something we don’t already offer, they simply have to propose it to the Student Council Executives with five members and we will determine whether or not to approve it. In order to expand leadership opportunities and give everyone the chance and framework to make changes on campus, Student Council Committees are 100% student-led. Committees are an imperative component to what makes our Student Council so important.

Proposals, Surveys, Petitions, and Voting Galore

Student Council at EF Academy serves an imperative role in giving the student body a guideline and protocol to advocate for changes on campus. At the heart of a great proposal is conveying that the student bodies interest in the change. For major projects, like redesigning our Learning Center (which you can see to the left), switching to Solar Electricity, or something like providing healthier (or unhealthier) options in the vending machine all call for a proposal. Students who take on a project like these must survey 250 students, get 350 petition signatures, and formulate a proposal including the survey results, petitions, price outline, and they must convey the student body demand for the project. After the proposal is approved by the Student Body Executives, we then arrange a meeting with the appropriate member of administration to win over their support. During the petitioning and survey process, we want students to pick holes in the proposal, criticize it, and provide their input to make the proposal even better. Students who lead and contribute to a successful proposal receive an excellence in leadership award and ‘honorary status’ within Student Council. Some successful proposals include redesigning the Learning Center, implementing a robust Recycling program across campus, and there are more to come.

What makes EF Academy’s Student Council different from other schools?

It comes down to our awesome team of administrators on campus, when students complain about something, they want to hear it, and they have showed time and time again that they are committed to making EF Academy the best school it can possibly be. Student Council is the go-to club for contributing to positive change on campus. Another thing that sets us apart is our freedom and ability to interact with the students. Every day, Student Council members are working on dozens of different proposals, events, fundraisers, petitions, and surveys. Student Council members develop diplomatic, proposal writing, and strong public speaking and leadership skills throughout their time in Student Council. Empowering the Student Body is personally my main goal as president of Student Council. When a student has a proposal that they are going to present to the administration, they must prepare to answer questions, negotiate, and know the pros and cons of their proposal by heart, a skill that is useful in any work or academic environment. Our Student Council works on projects that most Student Council’s around the country don’t have the ability to work on, but we believe here at EF Academy that the students should not only can voice their concerns, but also play an integral part of developing a solution.

 

This blog post was written by President of Student Council and IB Year-1 student, Andrew Torpie.

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