Student government is a group of students that run many of the events that the school puts on, like dances, pep rallies, fundraisers, etc. Every fall, each representative-elect creates a speech, and the student body votes for who will represent each class based on who they believe will best represent their class. There are two types of members of student government, the representatives and executive board members, where the executive members run student government, while the representatives support it. There are three representatives per class. In order to run for the executive board, you must have to serve one year as a representative, and only certain spots on the executive board are underclassmen eligible. I met with Mrs. Rock, the student government advisor, to ask some questions about student government.
Q: What are the benefits of joining student government?
A: I think that if you are looking to really hone your leadership skills, student government is a great way to do that. Another benefit of joining student government is if you want to see a change in our school, like a school dance, student government is the place where you can make that change while knowing that student government isn’t going to change the uniform policy [or other school policies]. When I get feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, about dances, events, or whatever, I usually remind students that if they don’t like something, join student government next year, because that’s how you can see change. And if you feel that certain groups of students’ voices aren’t being heard, you should be running so that you can ensure that you can be that voice for them.
Q: What are some of the responsibilities of joining student government?
A: The responsibilities vary, depending on whether or not you decide to run for representative or if you are running for executive board. The executive board has quite a bit more responsibility than reps do, they create agendas for both the executive meeting we have weekly and the rep meetings that we have weekly. They are responsible for planning all of the dances, determining venues, budgeting out the dances, planning pep rallies, delegating responsibilities, etc. If we are over budget, [they] determine what fundraisers they can do to fill those gaps. Generally, making sure they are serving the school population and what the school population wants. The executive board runs the ship, and the reps support the ship. Reps are meant to be the main liaison between their class and be able to communicate back what the class wants. As a rep, responsibilities include showing up on time to our weekly meetings, helping plan, prepare, set up, tear down for all of the dances. A big responsibility is attending all of the events that we plan unless there’s a reason somebody can’t attend, but if you’re a member of the student government we expect you to help support and advocate for people attending the events that we are putting on. Running the sentinel shack is another big responsibility that student government representatives have. Some events that the student government puts on are the Hike for Humanity, the Senior Sunrise, and Senior Sunset. The Senior Sunrise is when we put on a breakfast at the beginning of the school year to signify the sun rising on the senior’s last year of high school. The night of graduation rehearsal, the weekend before graduation, we do Senior Sunset, where we put on a barbeque [for the seniors] and throw a party for them.
Q: What is the student government environment like?
A: I would say it depends if there is an event coming up, it can be pretty serious and detail-oriented. It’s really exciting to see the different ideas that students are coming up with and what they want to do. Something we’ve been doing a lot more lately is going to leadership events. Student government and NHS are both parts of a group called the MASC/MAHS, which is Michigan’s Association of Student Council and Michigan’s Association of Honors Society. They put on leadership events where you get to go and meet people from all over the state, all student leaders, and that is really fun because it’s a collaboration that most students don’t get the chance to do. We get to meet with leaders from other schools and see what they’re doing to make their school awesome and how we can maybe implement those into ours, share your ideas, etc. That is one of my favorite things about being an advisor, being able to see our students really flourish and hold their own in some groups that are in hundreds versus a small school like ours.
Q: What is the executive board and what are the roles?
A: The president is responsible for overseeing everything, if there is something that needs to be done, they are either going to delegate and find someone to do it or they are going to do it themselves. They are the main liaison between student government and me and student government and administration. My job is to be the in-between of students and staff, ensuring that I can get things approved. The Vice President is the president if the president cannot fulfill their duties, like if they are absent. They are meant to be the liaison with NHS, to build that relationship, which we are working harder to do this year. They will also work proactively with the rest, and fill in when needed. Communications is responsible for what the student body sees, like all of the flyers that get put up around the school, consistently updating the two tv screens and ensuring they include important information, going from advisory to advisory to make announcements, and sometimes making announcements over the PA. PR (Public Relations) focuses mostly on social media accounts and also if there are communications that need to happen outside of the school, PR would be responsible for those as well. Treasurer is going to closely track student government funds, help with budgets, keep track of what the sentinel shack is making, make those deposits on a weekly basis, help determine when the sentinel shack needs to be restocked, and keep an eye on what sells out the quickest and what we should purchase more of. The Secretary records all meeting minutes, takes all the notes that need to happen, and also maintains a historical archive of all our paperwork that we need, like our attendance sheets, etc., and hangs on to all of that.
Q: Where can students interested in student government get more information?
A: Students can get more information from either myself, the advisor, or any exec board or rep member. I would say that the executive board is more well-versed in the responsibilities and how to become a part of it. Our president is Grace Donnelly, Vice President is Skylar Causey, Treasurer is Sofie Decker, Secretary is Kelsey Phelps, Communications is Allison Scott, and PR (Public Relations) is Josee McCloskey.
Q: What would you like to say to students interested in joining student government?
A: Don’t be afraid to try! The biggest thing that students say to me is “well, I don’t think that I’ll get it”, well you definitely won’t get it if you don’t try, so I usually encourage them to give it a try if you’re interested at all. It’s an excellent way to gain leadership skills and create visible change in our school, and give them the chance to interact with other high school students.