In light of both upcoming and recent club board turnovers, The Phillipian’s most recent editorial, “Faces of Leadership,” addressed the need for equal representation within leadership on campus. Having students in power who come from various backgrounds gives minority students the chance to be heard in campus endeavors. As Andover continues to strive toward being the most inclusive and diverse campus it can be, having better representation in student leadership positions would allow for more students to believer that they matter and that they can be successful at Andover.
Not representing a large portion of the Andover student population counteracts the goal of inclusivity that the school is trying to achieve. Representation in campus leadership gives students self-affirmation and confidence in their identity, which is extremely important during any student’s high school career. If students saw more students with marginalized identity markers in leadership positions, they would start to challenge assumptions made about their own capabilities.
When I came to Andover as a Junior, it seemed like the majority of leaders and other members of clubs were white. I got the subtle feeling that people like me are not “supposed” to be here. We must collectively challenge the image that society and the media has upheld for years: that some human beings are inherently inferior due to arbitrary markers. Being black shouldn’t stop me from becoming Student Body Co-President nor should being a girl stop me me from being interested in computer science. I, like many students on campus, am tired of the impression that I cannot be successful because of uncontrollable factors that deem me inept. Diversity in race, gender and all identities for campus leadership positions is just as important a consideration as any other experiences and leadership qualities a given student might have.
The students who are elected as leaders should directly reflect what the student body or club stands for. On a campus where 42 percent of the community identifies as a person of color, the students who run our campus should represent that truth. While representation has no simple solution, I suggest that everyone understands that this is a problem that is mostly up to us students to resolve. We are responsible for electing peers whom we know can both represent the real faces of Andover and serve our community well.
With only a few months left in our school year, I hope that remaining club board turnovers can take the faces of their clubs into consideration when passing the mantle to future leaders. Representation truly does matter and makes a serious impact on the lives of students – both on and off campus. Student leaders are the faces that are seen the most on campus, and if those faces do not accurately represent the student body, it can send a discouraging message especially to underclassmen. In order for Andover to confirm that it recognizes, cares for and understands the diverse voices of its students, we need to have leaders who represent them.