Sophomore voices desire for student council, advisory changes

Anjan Singer '24

With Student Council election season here, an annual spotlight of attention has been focused upon students running for elected office. But among the speeches of candidates, was an underlying theme of confusion of transparency of what the Student Council does.

But there is a solution that is right in front of us. There is the one time and place where almost everyone is comfortable enough to speak their mind. One treasured school institution that has already established clear groups to represent the student body. One thing that, just like Student Council, could stand for a couple of tweaks, advisory.

The goal and agenda of advisory and student government are both currently unclear to the average Greenhills student, so why not put them together and improve both at the same time? Allow advisory to become a breeding ground for good ideas and a place to harness democracy. Allow those who want to lead to represent their advisory in a new Student Council format, with each advisory represented by a peer they elect to send to the Council. Maybe then, we will see new passion infused into the school’s student government, and school spirit will follow.

For the first time in three years, I saw a cookie hit the ground in a classroom. I could’ve dove for it, saved the custodians some trouble, got myself a cookie, but something about the moment seemed sacrosanct. To me, advisory should not be thirty minutes a day of stone cold silence, not something you skip to go to the library, but cookies eaten, and battles won and lost. 

While advisory has its flaws, it is of the utmost importance that we recognize the things that it’s good at as well. In a school that is too often quiet, advisory is a welcomed chaotic reprieve. 

A few weekends ago I went to a Model United Nations conference at the University of Michigan. Debate was heated and loud and spirited, all the things that I think our school should be. We shouted at the top of our lungs not because we were mad, but because we had beliefs that needed to be stood up for, and at the end of the day we all left happy with our peers and ourselves. This is the untapped passion that the Student Council could unlock for us. 

I am not advocating for us to all talk like our voice is coming out of a megaphone, but there is something about caring so deeply about something trivial that you would shout and curse and advocate to get it changed that simply cannot be replaced. This is the battleground that advisory should be.

When was the last time you went to a Student Council meeting? When was the last time you read the minutes? When was the last time you even knew what the Student Council was up to?

Really, think about it. 

I remember the last time I knew what the Student Council’s purpose was. It was sixth grade and our class representatives decided that we should have a say in what they advocated for. For a few days we did. There was a little sheet on the bulletin board where you could write suggestions, things they could do for you. We don’t have that anymore. 

I am not saying that there’s anything wrong with what the Student Council is, but rather let’s adjust the structure and services it performs. It helps plan dances, prints t-shirts, but with my admittedly-limited knowledge, I couldn’t tell you what else they do. Student Council, if you are doing something please tell us. 

Student Council should be whatever we want and need it to be at that moment. It has the potential to be each and every one of our voices. There are more than six hundred of us at this school, more than six hundred people who come here nearly every weekday for most of the year, more than six hundred students who see things that could be better in our community. Some of those ideas are either too big or too small for students alone to handle, but some of them are just the right size to rally around.

For example, concessions at school events. Many other schools have them, whether they’re run by a parent association, the school, or by students. Now, I wouldn’t expect anyone to pay for a whole concession booth out of their own pocket, but it’s a project that no one of us could undertake individually, but the whole school could tackle together.

By electing a student government representative out of each advisory, we will have more voices represented and heard, and hopefully more buy-in from students to student government, and student spirit.