Put The “Student” in Student Council

The Daily Grind, a student-led group at Choate, raises funds by selling food and drinks to students during Tuesday conference periods, social events, and other special occasions. A subcommittee of the Student Council, led this year by Julian Yau ’18, the Daily Grind donates all earnings to a charity of choice. As recommended by Joseph Coyne ’19, the funds from last year are being donated to Call To Care Uganda, an organization that responds to the needs of Ugandan children. All previous funds have been used to purchase forty new bunk beds for Ugandan students.

While it is undeniably true that donating our funds to Call To Care Uganda was an excellent decision, the selection process for which charity received the funds should have more actively involved the student body. Like many others, I was excited to find out that the money was being put to good use. However, I do wish that I had been notified of the decision-making process prior to the announcement, and that I had the option of suggesting a charity to which the funds could go. As diversity is inherent in the Choate community, many of us have different causes to which we are devoted, and while donating all of the money to Call To Care Uganda was an indisputably noble act, some agree that it could have been a more rewarding experience had the rest of the student body been more involved in the selection process.

For one, I was unaware that the Daily Grind was a charitable organization until after the announcement was made; I was also unaware that as a student, I could have provided input as to where the funds could have gone. As the Daily Grind is a subset of the Student Council, it falls upon the council itself to improve communication about such matters between themselves and the rest of the student body.

This issue speaks to a larger problem which our community faces: the lack of communication between the Student Council and the rest of the school. Some have told me in informal conversation that aside from electing peers to be part of the Student Council, they feel relatively uninvolved with the proceedings of the group. Personally, I frequent the Council’s meeting notes on Facebook, but I understand why they might feel that way. Unless students visit the Facebook page, the bulletin board outside the dining hall, or the Student Council website (whose location on the Choate website is somewhat hard to locate), the only times when non-Council members receive any progress updates are during announcements in all-school meeting, which students are mandated to attend anyway. As a group of students voted on to represent the rest of the student body, it is imperative that the council consistently informs students of what it has been up to.

As shown by the charitable efforts of the Daily Grind, it is clear that the Council has good intentions. However, the Council must find better ways to approach the Choate community with its ideas, so that each member of our community remains fully informed of its progress. Some possible solutions include sending a regular all-school email out, delivering frequent announcements at all-school meetings, or posting meeting agendas and notes in more noticeable places. If the whole student body had been asked for suggestions as to where Daily Grind funds could have gone before the last all-school meeting announcement, the student body would have felt much more included in the decision-making process.

That being said, we should nonetheless be appreciative of this year’s Student Council. It is obvious that members of the Council are loyal and dedicated to the work they do for the student body. As we move into a new election season, I hope that new council members will not only share the passion of this year’s representatives, but also work together on establishing more solid methods of communication between themselves and the student body.

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