Andover’s Student Council has decided to implement a Policy Committee to explore, draft, and suggest policies to the student body and faculty. The group will be composed of five to seven students with strong writing abilities, comfort with communication, and devotion to Andover’s improvement.
According to Co-President Eastlyn Frankel ’18, the Student Council came up withw the idea this past summer, drawing upon inspiration from Phillips Exeter Academy.
“We had talked with students that went to Exeter… and we realized that Student Council is a really important part of their community, so they have a lot of different committees that sort of get the entire school involved,” said Frankel. “When you have so many people working towards one goal, you start to see real changes.”
Co-President Samuel Bird ’18 also stressed the importance of diversifying responsibilities within Student Council. Having a group of students dedicated to just policy-making would contribute to the overall productivity of the council, according to Bird.
“We decided that having a policy committee would be awesome because it would bring together some people who are, if they apply, obviously committed to the goal of making some meaningful change within the school, but it also gives us a group of people we can depend on and sort of take that weight off of the class representatives,” said Bird.
Frankel said Student Council’s goal is to increase the inclusion of underclassmen in Student Council, having noted a strong absence of opportunity for them. She also said that the size of the Student Council doesn’t particularly lend itself to being inclusive to the entire Andover community.
Frankel said, “We also think that Student Council is kind of small. Even though it seems like it’s pretty big, I feel like there [are] not a lot of opportunities, especially for underclassmen, to get involved in Student Council… We thought that this could be a great way to sort of try and integrate new members of the Andover community into our Student Council meetings.”
Frankel continued, “We think that adding a policy committee won’t only create faster ways to draft up and edit and sort of present new policies, but we also think it would be a great opportunity for more leadership and more involvement in Student Council and more student input in general.”
With this added efficiency of the Policy Committee, Frankel and Bird are looking towards two main goals for the council: reviewing parietal rules and further improving the school’s attitude toward mental health.
“We have one section working on speaking with faculty and speaking with students to see if we can create meaningful change surrounding parietal rules, especially regarding the heteronormativity of the rule.
Another half of student council is working towards a more mental health approach and a student wellness [and] student schedule approach,” said Bird.Frankel said having concrete, written rules is integral for proposals to convince the faculty to change student policy, something that Frankel and Bird hope the Policy Committee carry out.
Student Council faculty advisor Rajesh Mundra, Assistant Dean of Students and Instructor in Biology, and Jenny Elliott ’94, Dean of Students and Residential Life, are both optimistic about the Policy Committee’s effectiveness, according to Frankel.
“Mr. Mundra is our faculty advisor, so we’ve talked to him the most. We’ve also talked to Ms. Elliot about it, and I think they’re pretty excited because it can be pretty hard to have a very concrete, formal plan to present to the faculty. Because at the end of the day, most of the things that students really want… have to be voted on by the faculty. So… not having that on paper [makes it] really difficult for the faculty to sort of do anything about it,” said Frankel.
This optimistic outlook extends to the student body, including Izzy Torio ’21 and Thaddeus Hunt ’19.
“I think that the Policy Committee is a good idea because it allows for the Student Council to be supported by more of the student body and have decisions that don’t remain solely on the shoulders of the Student Council,” said Torio.
“I definitely would consider joining… I think that Andover has a lot of potential. It is a great school and has a lot of potential to be a better school,” said Hunt.
The application for the Policy Committee is due on Sunday, November 5 at 11:59 p.m.
“We are really excited and hope that people apply… Just fill out the application and do your best,” said Frankel.