by S A L I N A K U O
Two weeks prior to the outset of summer break, elections were held to determine the new Student Council officers for the 2018-2019 school year. Elections were, quite simply, a three-step process that occured over the span of one to two weeks. Candidates had to campaign for their position, either by plastering posters with their candid faces across the school to mark their presence and declare their candidacy, or by simply engaging with the student body in an attempt to secure a few votes. The second step involved interviews conducted by the office administration with the candidates, and the final step involved presenting a speech and being suspended in a hot-seat for questioning by the current Student Council president - in front of the entire school. This year, Arvin Wu and Ian Shen, both rising seniors, ran for the position of President; Christina Chang (10), Jason Liu (10), Ethan Lu (9) and Edwin Shen (10) competed for the position of the Vice President; rising senior Gordon Chen (11) and rising freshman Rintaro Kimura (8) ran for Treasurer; and Jonathan Sun (10), along with Evan Chiang (10), Debbie Hsu (11), Vanessa Lin (9) and Willa Lin (11), strove to obtain the seat for the Secretary. In the end, it was Arvin Wu who walked away with the position of President, Christina Chang as Vice President, Gordon Chen as the treasurer and Evan Chiang as the new STUCO Secretary.
We were able to interview the winning candidates to gain insight on their thoughts on having won the election.
President - Arvin Wu
What is your vision for Student Council at PAS next year?
My vision is to continue to make new events and implement new policies. For example we were supposed to have a nerf [gun battle] and running man [on the last day of school, but] the school cancelled nerf, but many still had fun in running man. These are only the start though. We hope to introduce many more new events; for example, assisting the basketball team in holding an awesome home basketball game, and seeing how much we can promote school spirit through merchandise. Also I hope to persuade school to bring back STUCO store.
What do you believe is the essence of the President's role?
The essence of the President’s role is to have a vision for STUCO, and to do what we can do [to] achieve that [vision]. It [involves] really broad [responsibilities], for example giving ideas [for STUCO events], training stuco members to be next-generation STUCO leaders, and communicating with the school [office administration] so new events are viable.
What are some flaws of STUCO that you identify from this year? And what possible improvements can be made?
I don't think STUCO has a big flaw, it’s more like an issue of the context STUCO is in. We need to lobby more with the school, so innovation and progress can be sustained, and [we need to] coordinate with school on dates and stuff to prevent conflicts - so I think STUCO is healthy.
[When we carry out events], we need to fit into the "context" (PAS) so that our progressive ideas and innovations could be successfully carried out for students to enjoy.
Finally, how do you feel about becoming the Student Council President?
It is quite the role to take on. My feeling for obtaining the position is: 不忘初心 方得始終 (English translation: Never forget why you started, and your mission can be accomplished)
Vice President - Christina Chang
How do you feel about winning the position of the Vice President?
I feel quite confident, and I am very happy to have won the position, as I have been in STUCO for a lot of years and now as the Vice President, I can use my position to make the school better.
What do you believe is the central role of the Vice President?
I believe that the Vice President should support the president. Most importantly, the Vice President should know when to intervene in the team and evaluate and assess situations in Student Council in order to give meaningful feedback and suggestions for the team.
As the Vice President has an important role in evaluating Student Council, what policies do you hope to see implemented next year?
[The most important policies I want to see implemented involve] communication and face to face meetings. I want to see more face-to-face meetings in order to encourage Student Council members to participate more in the events, and to get them more motivated in joining STUCO and helping out in setting up the events [and making the STUCO-run events successful].
Secretary - Evan Chiang
How do you feel about having received the role of the Secretary?
To be honest, I feel slightly bad about getting my position as Secretary this year. I didn't win by popular vote, as Willa actually received 10% more votes than I did, but instead through my interview score as I look forward to promoting a website. However, regardless of this, I look forward to working with Arvin, Gordon, and Christina as members of the STUCO leadership.
Ah okay. And what do you believe are the most important responsibilities associated with your role?
Generally speaking, I think it's obvious that a secretary in STUCO focuses on the communication aspect of the body. That is obviously, not only taking notes during meetings but also to relay information between STUCO and other bodies. I honestly think that it may be considered as the STUCO leadership position with the least responsibilities, but I don't think that's how I plan to go with my role next year.
Well speaking of how you will go with your role, what are some key changes you hope to implement for STUCO next year as the Secretary?
With my policies that I hope can be implemented next year, notably a STUCO website, I find that my policy stretch the role of a secretary beyond to these values. I aim to deal with both the lack of school spirit given the new opportunities in the new campus because, well the new students aren't incentivized or coming to the STUCO events, but also as I've realized throughout the years to be able to establish proper communication with non STUCO bodies such as but not limited to Yearbook, Typhoon Times, and even possibly the Robotics Team. There are obviously many concerns about the website as it has not yet a domain (which requires a small amount of money) nor has its layout been finalized yet, but I am more than open to listen to any suggestions as I've gone through during my election campaign and during my policy speech as well as even effective policies from other candidates that did not get the position.
I see. Are there any other remarks or comments about STUCO you would like to make?
Working in the new campus is going to be both interesting and hectic. Hopefully events like the Nerf Gun battle won't be cancelled like literally last second again at the end of the school year, but through my talks with the leadership team we believe that we should establish a scheduled outline with the school over the summer before the next semester starts so that any last minute cancellations would not affect these events.
Unfortunately, we were unable to find an appropriate time to conduct a full-length interview with the treasurer Gordon Chen; however, he did provide a brief comment on policies he hopes STUCO will be able to implement next year, asserting that he wishes to “bring back school spirit” with the president [as they] “might be hosting different cross-school competitions to boost our school spirit and the bonds between individuals.”