Although Paly’s Associated Student Body (ASB) puts on wonderful dances and is the puppet master behind Spirit Week, any other impact on the school is not clearly seen. However, there was once a time in Paly’s history when ASB involved many students and made a significant difference on campus.
Before ASB was made a class, there was a student government meeting every Tuesday at lunch in which student council members and fourth period representatives met to discuss changes that they wanted to make to the school.
These meetings were run like a forum and there was a posted agenda that would display the topics of the day.
Anybody was allowed to attend these meetings and if they attended more than three times, students would be able to vote. The student council members created the agenda sometime before the Tuesday lunch meeting and the issues on the agenda were voted on by student council members, fourth period representatives and students who came to the meetings.
Items discussed in these lunch meetings ranged from planning prom, making activity days, planning an international festival (a tradition that has died out at Paly) and making schedule changes.
Fourth period representatives would attend Tuesday lunch meetings and then report back to their fourth period classes once every week.
This way, many students would be aware of what was happening even if they did not go to the meetings themselves. This system of student government encouraged student participation while at the same time was very productive and orderly.
Paly’s ASB does a fine job of planning dances and arranging Spirit Week, but they should allow for more participation from the general student population so that as many people as possible can voice their opinions.
ASB does its best to communicate to the Paly community through Facebook groups and posters around campus, but the truth is this is not an effective way to reach out to the student body. If ASB and the Paly administration really want student participation, then they should reinstate Tuesday lunch meetings.
Another advantage to having these lunch meetings is that students who have a full schedule can still have a voice regarding student politics. Because ASB is a class that requires a free period, many students who want to participate are unable to because they are already taking seven classes. In this way, it would be possible to engage in student government without needing to drop a class.
The importance of student government is that it allows many people to get involved and helps students look into what a political career would be like. With lunch meetings that are set up as a forum in which there is an agenda, students feel firsthand the power of democracy.
However, no student feels like they are “making a difference” if their class president posts on a Facebook group that there is a dance on Friday and people should “support Paly social events.”
Because Facebook groups are so unsuccessful in communicating ideas, fourth period representatives should be reinstated in order for students to receive vital information regarding the inner workings of ASB. Fourth period representatives could also briefly go over other topics such as college visits or club meetings, since many teachers fail to put on InFocus and consequently students do not receive this important information.
As much as ASB is adored around the Paly campus, they would have a more positive impact on the school if they allowed the rest of the students at Paly to share their opinions as well. ASB can continue to be a class, but it should also reinstate lunch meetings so that many people can participate in student government, not just an elite few.

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