Collins and Adler Attend Interscholastic Conference

Student Council President Tantum Collins and Vice President Jonathan Adler met with representatives from five other peer schools at Choate Rosemary Hall last Sunday. They found that several programs other schools applied would work well at Andover. Representatives from NMH, Choate, Hotchkiss, Exeter and St. Paul’s, as well as Phillips Academy, all showed up to discuss the different policies at each school. Their agenda included a brief description of each school’s student council, followed by a discussion on the top issues that the student leaders are facing at their schools. They went on to talk about projects that the student councils were pursuing and the difference in school policies regarding co-ed visitation, internet and attendance. They closed the conference by deciding how they could stay in contact and discussing their plans for another conference. One idea that Collins and Adler both liked was the “student listener” program at Exeter. Certain students at Exeter are trained in Exeter’s equivalent of Graham House to be able to listen to other students’ problems. One or two of these qualified students is situated in each dorm. Everything said to a student listener is kept strictly confidential. Hotchkiss also has a similar program involving peer listeners. Collins and Adler also found that our peer schools were working very hard towards sustainability. They learned that at all other schools, excluding Exeter, do not use trays for meals. Currently, PA only goes trayless on Tuesdays. The E-Proctor system is one that they hope to bring to PA as well. E-Proctors are designated students in each dorm that keep an eye on recycling and overall sustainability in their dorm. Collins and Adler hope to work with Sustainability Coordinator Rebecca Bogdanovitch to bring more environmental ideas to Andover. The freedoms that PA students are given at this school became clearly evident to both representatives during the meeting. Collins said, “We realized that our school has much more lenient policies in terms of internet policy, discipline and dress code among many other aspects of student life.” While many students complain about the internet bandwidth limit, PA keeps it open for 24 hours. In addition, in contrast to many peer schools, Phillips Academy has no dress code. Some schools set a budget limit for student elections, sometimes as low as $20, leaving candidates forced to put up only a few posters. Andover was also the only school of the group to offer personal time, while some schools only allow as few as two cuts per term. In addition, Andover has the shortest time requirement for work duty among all schools that attended the meeting. Choate Student Council President Jin Ha organized the meeting. He invited eight peers schools to attend the conference. Phillips Academy’s Student Council planned a similar event last year, but was unable to secure the necessary funding. The meeting opened a very hectic two days for Collins and Adler, who had to deal with the long drive to Choate, coupled with School Congress the next day. “We literally had to run to the Trustees Room in order to get there on time,” said Collins, “even thought we left Choate at 4, we arrived back at 6:28 for a 6:30 meeting.” Another meeting is being planned for some time next term, but most likely at a different venue that is more central to all schools.