by Kendall Duffie
I’m on Community Board. For a majority of the student body, no one really knows what that means. For some, it may seem like all we do is eat donuts and sit in our room planning Semi and Prom the entire year. To others, the idea of what we do is vastly different.
To be fair, our actual jobs change almost every meeting, but the initial goal stays the same: to plan events that are fun and inclusive for all members of the Upper School community.
For the most part, I think our events have reached that goal; it gives a strange sense of accomplishment when you see your friends and peers enjoying an event you helped plan and execute.
In the fall, Community Board helped host the OES homecoming and volleyball night, and put on the annual scary movie night. Picking the movie entailed a solid half hour of watching horror movie trailers, which was mildly scarring, before we decided on The Babadook. In addition, during volleyball night, we got to watch Deri absolutely kill Catlin’s team with his spikes.
During the winter, we hosted Christmas movie night, Open Mic Night, and Semi. Christmas movie night made me realize two important things: one, that I am terrified of Abe Asher, and two, that it is impossible to make everyone happy constantly.
No matter what you do as a rep, someone will always be unhappy with the music or the venue, while others might be perfectly happy with it. That’s not to say that you can’t find something that is mutually enjoyable, but it served as an important learning experience to realize that the most you can do is use the resources and knowledge you have to find something that will appeal to the greatest amount of people.
Semi was mostly praised, mostly due to the parking garage across the street, but also was the point of criticism because of music and dance floor space.
In the spring, our two main events were EVARGLOW and Prom. At EVARGLOW, despite the fact that the music was censored and the event was immediately following the conversations about stereotypes and the stigma they create, a racial slur was shouted about a half hour into the dance.
What happened at EVARGLOW was unacceptable, but many found that the response by CoBo was either too extreme or felt that the problems highlighted by CoBo were directed at a specific group of students.
The next Monday, all Policy and Community Board members and multiple members of the faculty attended a lunch meeting to start the discussion about the situation we had found ourselves in.
I can say from personal experience: there is nothing more disappointing than having to face the fact that this happened at a school-sponsored dance, which shined light on the issues we face surrounding stereotypes and race.
On the other hand, Prom was a hit. The balcony at the venue was especially appreciated, as was the playing of ‘One Ohana’ on the dance floor.
Overall, as a freshman coming onto Community Board, the general sense of dislike towards our efforts is something that is now ingrained into my concept of what it means to be a member of StuCo.
It’s hard to constantly be excited about things like Mystery Events and Minute To Win It’s when I have consistently heard my peers voice that they think that these events are childish and unnecessary.
That being said, we do receive a lot of positive feedback from people who have enjoyed what we’ve put on- that they liked the venue or the snacks at dances, or they thought the surprises we’ve planned during Gathering were funny.
I’ve found that knowing the difference between the two is more important that worrying about individual events- you do what you can to create spirit and fun within the community.
Along with this, the apathy that usually comes as a response from the student body following StuCo announcements doesn’t go unnoticed by its members, and usually prompts discussions internally.
It can be frustrating to be criticized for events in which you put time and effort, but never see feedback through the Open Seat or through grade reps. But criticism is an integral part of what we do. Open Seats and grade reps are designed for students to have a place where they can share their ideas, frustrations, or commentary on events.
I can speak for all of Community Board when I say that we always love to hear what the community thinks! StuCo is for you, the students, and while we can’t always say that we met every single need, we genuinely tried.
StuCo has been an amazing experience for me the past year, from Nathan C.’s ‘groutfits’ and excessive amounts of donuts in activity, to setting up for dances or planning Mystery Events. Next year, I want to continue the work we’ve been doing so far: inclusivity, planning, and fun.