Since Student Council’s (StuCo) introduction to ASL, its motives and mission have been repeatedly reevaluated by both the Council, our advisor, and the student body itself.
Recently, it has been brought to our attention that there is a slight discrepancy between the Council and the student body regarding our charity work as an organization. From time to time, the possibility of StuCo representing or doing work for specific charities, especially those represented by clubs, has been asked of us; of course, whilst we are appreciative of the comfort students have asking us about issues and showing that they care, we have run into a few issues along the way.
It was most recently brought to the Council after an inquiry from a member of the student body, asking what we would be doing as an organization to gather support for the devastating typhoon in the Philippines. As a Council, we decided that while we endeavor to support all charities and their ventures, we are not a charity organization. Our mission is to provide a voice for the students and a bridge between faculty and the student body, and we feel as a group that, though charity is important and meaningful, it is not part of our mission.
That being said, we will do everything within our power to aid any efforts brought to us without discrimination or exclusivity; if we support one charity or cause, why should we not support the next? Realistically, ASL does so much for so many different charities already that it would be next to impossible to aid each group without it hindering us and our productivity, seeing as we are already always incredibly busy as it is.
We have been asked several times to use spirit points as a motivation for people to make donations or participate in a charity event, and we feel that in some ways the use of the spirit point system somewhat trivializes these issues. Spirit points are effective and important for creating a sense of community within the student body by encouraging people to attend StuCo-run events and feel proud of the school by becoming involved in such occasions as Spirit Week or Halloween; these points play a major role in spirit, but are limited to enhancing the morale of the student body.
However, we would like to take this opportunity to share how we would very much like to help charities throughout the school. All clubs and groups are welcome to make presentations at a class meeting or all-school meeting in order to spread word of an event or cause and are invited to speak to StuCo at a meeting or with individual representatives in order to discuss ways in which we can support without leading the efforts themselves.
In order to minimize any favoring of particular charities, we hold Battle of the Bands annually, where any and all charities are asked to set up a stand in order to receive money for donations – this event is extremely successful every year, and we thoroughly encourage all interested groups to participate. The event raises both awareness and funds, two goals that seem to be at the forefront of charities’ missions.
From year to year, as the Council changes, the ideas held by officers and representatives change accordingly, and we have brought this issue up several times in order to decide whether or not it is our duty to aid these charities through spirit points or council-organized events. At this point in time, our policy in charity is the above approach of supporting and promoting without direct leadership, and we wish every group the best of luck with their initiatives.