Fermi+Boonstra%2C+all-school+president%2C+leads+a+Student+Council+meeting+May+2.

Andrew Burke-Stevenson

Fermi Boonstra, all-school president, leads a Student Council meeting May 2.

Student Council officers answer questions for next year

May 5, 2022

After a week of campaigning, a day of voting and hours of anticipation, the student body elected a new student government April 29 for the coming school year headed by Fermi Boonstra as all-school president and Graham Robbins as all-school vice president. The Midway interviewed members of the newly elected student government about their visions for the year to come.

 

Fermi Boonstra, all-school president

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Midway staff

What are some things that you’ve accomplished in your Student Council career that you are proud of?

“I led this bill called the Temperature Check Bill. And it was initially about getting faculty to send out a survey to their students in the middle of the year to see how everyone was doing, and from there, adjust their courses or adjust their workload. And basically, what happened was, I was told that you can’t make teachers put out that forum, but you can highly encourage it. And so I talked at a faculty meeting and proposed giving those temperature checks, hence the name. And I think a lot of teachers took it to heart. And I heard a lot about how teachers were doing it […] Some of them didn’t, but it mattered to me that at least some teachers were doing it and some students were getting that say in their course.”

 

What kind of a Student Council do you hope to lead?

“I really want to have a good relationship with the student body, which I know has been a struggle in the past, because a lot of people see Student Council as this, like, high-off place where we’re untouchable and maybe like, we’re not so in tune with what’s happening in the school and we never get anything done. But I think if people are more aware of what we’re doing, then they’ll see that no, we can actually do things. We can help little things. We can’t get teachers to not give us homework, but we can make little initiatives that make everyday life a little bit easier.”

 

What are some lessons you’ve picked up during your time on student council that you plan to make use of next year?

“There are things that a leader can do to make a community feel more bonded. I think, as a leader, it’s important to be an example for students. No one is going to want to dress up for spirit week if their own class president isn’t going crazy for it. As a leader, you learn to like what people see and what they receive from your actions. Through my years, I’ve figured out what is good and what’s bad.”

 

What are some of your initial goals for the next year?

“I was actually just talking to Ms. Campos about getting the five mental health days separated from the absence cap we can have per semester. So right now, you can have seven absences per semester before you have to have a conversation with the dean and your parents. And no one wants that. […] So for example, field trips don’t count toward the absences you can have per semester, but sick days do. And so what I want is to get a set aside amount of days for mental health, being put into that column of days that don’t count for the absences.”

Graham Robbins, all-school vice president

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Midway staff

What are some of your initial goals for the next year?

“Student Council in the past has not really, I think, been the best communicators of what’s going on in the student body. And I think that really what needs to change is not really doing the traditional things like Schoology posts, and, you know, written statements, because those have always been done. I think it’s really about, like, getting into the community where it’s already effective.”

 

Why did you personally want to become vice president?

“I think it was kind of a natural transition going from grade vice president. But beyond that, I think it’s a role that’s kind of really, like, you can do a lot of things with it […] I think anyone can do Student Council. It’s not that it takes this special skill set, or you need these sort of special powers to be able to do something. It’s really about connecting with your peers and listening, and then bringing up concerns to the relevant student body or student groups or administration.”

 

Your election guide blurb mentions that you were trying to advocate for an anonymous faculty reporting system. Could you elaborate on that?

“What a lot of students have mentioned and brought up to administration and Student Council is that you do have to put in an email address [into the bias reporting form] […] Having that does not really make for always an accessible experience because there are times when students just want to get something off their mind or say something without their name being attached to it. And that’s something that I think the school needs to respect. […] Sometimes what people really need is just to say something, put something out there, and feel that an adult is hearing them and not necessarily having them be responsible for going through that process.”

Akshay Badlani, Cultural Union president

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Midway staff

Why did you want to become Cultural Union president?

“Cultural Union has been a thing that I’ve been doing since I was a freshman, and I really love it. And I don’t know, I really like planning events. And Lab has done so much for me. I just want to do something for Lab, and I thought event planning and bringing everyone together would be a good way to do that.”

 

Could you elaborate on some of the experience that you bring to this post?

“I’ve been on Cultural Union since I was a freshman. […] I’m one of the only people on Student Council to have planned events before COVID, which is very helpful for next year once we’re hopefully out of COVID.”

 

Could you tell me about your idea for a third or fourth or all-school event and where the funds for that might come from? 

“So before I was a freshman, Lab used to have three dances and then Labstock, but because Lab wanted to focus more on Labstock, they invested a lot more into Labstock. But I know speaking to a lot of freshmen, they want a third dance instead of having a lot more funds go towards Labstock. So that is an idea that I plan on proposing to Student Council: to reorganize the funds for all-school events to have three dances and Labstock.”

Zoe Nathwani, Class of 2024 president

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Midway staff

What are some of your initial goals for the next year?

“The first thing that I want to do is grade merch. This seems like kind of stupid, but I have been trying to get grade merch started for the past two years, and it just hasn’t happened because of COVID. So, my first priority is getting our grade some merchandise. I also want to have some events at the end of this year, at least one event before we close out the year and then start next year strong with another one. And I think finally, I want to work on the bill that I’ve been working on, the voting initiative, and just get that kind of in the works again.”

 

Can you tell me more about the voting education program?

“Currently, Lab has the voting program every four years, like in a major election cycle year for the presidential elections. So it’s 2020, 2016, 2012. And you get seniors registered in November, but I realized how important is to get everybody registered every single year. And so, what I want to do is implement a voter education and registration program that will happen at the end of senior year for everyone, so that way, as many people are 18 as possible so they’re eligible to get registered and people can learn about absentee ballots, voting in college, when elections occur and the value of actually voting and things other than a presidential election.”

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