Today, students across campus are weighing their options for Student Council President and deciding who will lead and represent the student body and the Class of 2013 for the next year.
Many factors will go into each student’s decision. Candidates’ ideas, advertisements, public speaking skills, ability to represent the student body and personal relationships with students will all influence student selections.
As they balance these many considerations, students must recognize the real role of the Student Council President before evaluating how each candidate will best be able to step into this position.
Above all else, candidates should be judged by their ability to represent the student body and their ability to listen and adjust to the views of Andover’s students. The Student Council President’s most important responsibilities are to liaise between students and the administration and to represent the voice of the student body at school-wide events.
These responsibilities exist outside any individual platforms. The Student Council President, therefore, does not need to enter office with a set of unique ideas–or even any ideas at all–to fulfill the position’s requirements.
In fact, campaign promises of unattainable, unnecessary or unreasonable reforms can destroy the necessary ability of a Student Council President to adjust. Students must ignore flashy or misleading ideas for luxuries and conveniences and realize that promises are only words that will not indicate how well the Student Council President will lead.
As long as the Student Council President is friendly and approachable to the largest possible group of students across all the classes, he or she will be a successful advocate for the student body. Furthermore, the President must have the charisma and relatibility to engage the entire community, from Juniors new to the school to Andover’s Trustees and alumni.
These responsibilities are separate from a candidate’s platform, because ideas for improvements to student life do not impact the quality of a speech or a candidate’s ability to listen.
Some may argue that the Student Council President should be held to the same standard as a real-world politician. No matter what a candidate suggests, however, life at Andover will not change faster than the administration or trustees will allow. This raises the distinction between a politician crafting law and a student representative carrying views to a higher authority. Politicians’ views affect the lives of their constituents without filtration. In contrast, the administration reviews and revises the Student Council’s agenda.
This fact vastly diminishes the importance of platforms and ideas, except as a way to get to know the candidates.
With the role of the Student Council President in mind, students should view the campaign as what it is: a measure of likability. Students should vote for the person with whom they are most comfortable, the person they consider the most approachable and most qualified as an engaging speaker and dynamic representative. When students vote today, they must consider equally each candidate’s personal traits and their abilities to communicate between students and the rest of the Andover community – even if that means focusing less on the goals candidates have set and the campaign promises they have made.
Only after a President has been elected should a dialogue about ideas begin. The elected President has the responsibility to evaluate the desires of the students and make his or her leadership reflect those desires. In that regard, the flow of ideas should be from student body to student representative–not vice versa.
When leading Andover as a student representative, the President must ignore his or her own personal agenda in deference to widespread and popular ideals. The President must be a fluid, dynamic communicator–not a defender of static promises.
This Editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXV. Due to a conflict of interest, Hemang Kaul, Lawrence Kemp and Zach Merchant did not contribute to this Editorial or any School President Coverage in CXXXV, No. 4.