An hour before classes started for the day, students filed into the Mural Room of Paresky Commons to attend the first Town Hall meeting of the year. Hosted by 2023-2024 Student Body Co-Presidents Eleanor ‘Nor’ Dehoog ’24 and Ryan Lam ’24, the Town Hall also included Cluster Co-Presidents and Class Representatives.
Scheduled for every Thursday at 7:30 a.m., Town Hall is part of Dehoog and Lam’s “Transparency and Involvement” initiative that aims to transform all Student and Cluster Council meetings into a public forum. The pair hopes to welcome students to attend meetings that were previously closed to the public, according to Dehoog.
“In the Spring, we really started putting together ideas of the things that we noticed as we had served previously, all Student Council, there was a little bit of a lack of transparency between the student body and Student Council’s work, because there’s so much you can’t see behind the scenes. And so for us, I was thinking that a Town Hall was really a way to get students involved firsthand in the work that we’re doing and being able to sit in,” said DeHoog.
The Town Hall serves as a collaborative space for members of Student Council to discuss school events and programs. The first meeting featured discussions regarding Abbotween, the Student Oasis, the Knoll Olympics, and Day Student Dorms.
Lam said, “The initiative I’m most excited about is Day Student dorms… But again, in our town hall meeting, we designated a lot of tasks to the Cluster Co-Presidents, Class Reps, and more in terms of getting feedback from House Counselors, feedback from students, and feedback from parents as well, who are pretty important in that process… We have a meeting upcoming with [Head of School] Dr. [Raynard] Kington, and we’re hoping to touch base with him on that.”
Cluster Co-Presidents also spoke on their plans for their respective clusters at Town Hall. Ashley Park ’24 and Louis Leone ’24, West Quad North Cluster Co-Presidents, described the programming for Quad Day, a joint event between the West Quad North and West Quad South Clusters taking place this Sunday.
Park said, “The biggest thing I said is collaborating with the dorms to have volleyball games, as well as an open dinner kind of thing where we’re going to have the food…and just make a place where people can come in and then have a good time. And I guess also we’ll have some music to play. I think it’ll hopefully be like a fun outdoor event where people can come and hang out.”
Frank Hu ’26, a student who attended the meeting, appreciated the look behind the scenes, but felt that having the event right before classes made it difficult to attend.
“I was able to ask a few questions via a website they had set up, and overall I felt it was fun. It was a little disorganized. Many Reps or Council Members lacked an initiative they were working on, but the problems were quickly resolved. There was also collaboration between Class Reps. Upperclassmen reps offered to help out the lowerclassmen reps with activities that they had organized in the past. It seemed like most non-rep students who went to the meeting were interested in running for a student government position, myself included,” said Hu.