The arrival of Spring Term each year is marked by change – the sun sets later, anticipation for the approaching summer abounds and students buzz at the prospect of new beginnings for various clubs and organizations across campus. Of the few major decisions left to Seniors in their remaining time, deciding the leadership for the next generation of upperclassmen is among the most important.
The people chosen as leaders of Andover’s clubs and organizations for the next year should be more than the people who are most qualified for the position on paper. They are the standard-bearers of a club and the first faces that new students will see and look up to when they join. As such, it is imperative that leadership on campus is an accurate a reflection of the entire student body as possible, especially in terms of race and gender. The value of representation cannot be underestimated. To arrive on an entirely novel campus and realize that very few of the leaders look like you or that very few have had experiences similar to yours can be incredibly disheartening.
This lack of representation is especially harmful, because it is so cyclical in nature. When organizations repeatedly choose leaders without regard for demographics and choose students from specific groups, even inadvertently, it sends a message to students who don’t belong to said groups. It subliminally tells the members of these underrepresented groups that they do not belong, suggesting to many that people like them simply “don’t do certain clubs.” As such, these students become unable to envision themselves in these roles. A lack of diversity discourages underrepresented students from applying to these leadership positions, effectively perpetuating the pattern of homogony that deterred them in the first place.
This is not at all meant to imply that clubs must adhere to quotas or mandates to enforce diversity. We simply believe the boards of clubs and organization on campus should reflect the varied nature of the Andover student body. After all, we are told time and time again that Andover is a place of intentional diversity, a place where “youth from every quarter” converge to learn and grow together. As a community, we value – we need to value – a wide range of voices and ideologies in all facets of academic and extracurricular life. When choosing next year’s leaders, we hope that current Seniors will take into account the impact that the demographics of club leaders have on the future of both the club and the school and will elect talented, hard-working leaders who also represent Andover’s diverse student body.
This Editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXVIII.
In the March 27 issue of The Phillipian, a Sports article incorrectly stated Chris Kralik’s ’16 position on Andover Boys Tennis. He is not Captian.
A Sports article did not mention that Nicolas Robertson ’15 and Jack Lane ’15 are returning rowers for Andover Boys’ Crew.
In the last issue, a caption under a photo of Dylan Refeld mistated his Andover class year. Dylan Refeld was a member of the Class of 2014.
The Phillipian regrets these errors.