Nathwani chosen in second election

Objectives include communication and transparency


Kaden Moubayed

LEGACY OF LEADERSHIP: Zoe Nathwani will continue her fourth year of student government and wants to increase transparency with students.

Chloe Alexander, Assistant Editor

In a second all-school election on May 1, the student body elected Zoe Nathwani as the all-school president for 2023-24. Brandon Chang will be all-school vice president. 

Turnout for the May 1 election was about 88% of the student body: 89% of 11th graders, 91% of 10th graders and 85% of 9th graders. 

Zoe has been Class of 2024 president since ninth grade. 

Zoe’s responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity. 

Two of your goals as all-school president are to run a biannual voter registration drive and a voter education program. What prompted this goal and how do you plan to accomplish this with other Student Council members? 

Last year, I remember I was thinking about how to basically have a voter education or voter registration drive at once every four years in the presidential election years, and … I realized that it’s really important that we actually have one every year. So this year, I’ve been working on this a lot, actually. We ran a voter registration drive at the beginning of the year for seniors, so my plan is to just continue to extend what we’ve already started.

With the unauthorized change in votes that happened on the first Election Day, how do you suppose students will believe that you were fairly elected as all-school president? 

That’s definitely a concern that I have, but I just hope that people can trust that we ran the entire election — again, a huge amount of work for everybody involved, and I just hope that people can trust that I was elected fairly. Even if they don’t, I think I’m going to be able to prove myself throughout the course of the year that I deserve to be elected.

Do you have any plans to create/maintain confidence with the student body?

One of my main objectives is to increase visibility and accountability for Student Council members. One of the ways that I plan to do that is a quarterly update, because right now, Student Council has a semesterly update, but I think it’s important that we actually keep people more updated on what we’re doing every single quarter.

How do you want to get more students involved in forums and allow students to voice their opinions?

So this is a huge thing for me, because since I’ve been on Student Council, I’ve noticed that while we give people opportunities to get involved, not everybody’s taking advantage of those and just speaks to us either not publicizing them enough or not having the right opportunities. Along with that quarterly update that I talked about, I’m going to make a form basically, that students can fill out completely anonymously, and tell us at the quarter, what are the things that they’ve noticed that they’re either unhappy with, that they’re happy with things, they want to see events, they want to see happen. Changes they want to see in our community, essentially, and then at the quarter, we’re going to share that feedback with the administration.

How do you plan to listen to student voices while working with faculty and the administration?

First and foremost, as a Student Council, our responsibility is to the students, not to anybody else, not to ourselves, not to the administration, but to the students. So, I mean, as a president, I’m going to make sure that I’m available for people to talk to on an unofficial basis with the concerns that they have, but as a Student Council, making ourselves more available and making it known, our meetings are entirely open and we want students to come in and tell us what’s going on.

How do you plan to work with your fellow Student Council members?

One of my main ideas is having this bill spreadsheet — we had it two years ago — when Brent was president, where we kept a list of all the bills that were happening, and which numbers were on them, and [this bill] was public to the student body. But I want to go a step further. Each week, I’m going to check in with Student Council members to make sure that they’re living up to their promise of work on these bills. I’m going to make sure that they’re following up with their great events, hopefully even doing more than two events per semester, and just really making sure that people are fulfilling their duties.

How do you plan to create a more inclusive environment within the student body? 

I’ve noticed that we need a positive voice in a whole discussion around DEI. I think we need to be focusing on cultural enrichment and cultural understanding and mutual understanding. So I have this idea called international day, and basically what this would be is students would get to bring in food from their native culture, or really any culture, read a little card about the cultural significance, its preparation, what it means to them, and then we would all come together in the cafeteria during lunch period, or after school or something like that, and share the food and just kind of enjoy food from each other’s cultures. Because that’s such a positive and easy way to get to be more familiar with somebody else’s ethnic background.

What role does the Student Council serve for the student body? 

The main thing is that we need to serve as a voice for our students to the administration and other members of the community, and be advocates, basically, because we’ve been elected to represent the students. So it’s our job to make sure that we are properly representing them, but not only just representing them, but advocating for them.

What effect and impact should Student Council have on the student body? 

On a larger level, at the all school level, which grade reps also participate in, big dances, and bills and initiatives. When we’re hearing feedback from the students, like, ‘I’m not happy with the school culture,’ or, ‘We need furniture in Gordon Parks,’ or something to that effect, it’s our job to take that feedback and make a positive impact on the community because if members of the community are unhappy, we have at least some, if not complete, power, but we have some power to try to help that.

What are some lessons that you’ve learned from your time on Student Council that you plan to make use of next year?

I think the biggest one is that we need to kind of think outside the box because when I first came into Student Council as a freshman, I was terrified. I was literally so scared because there was all these big upperclassmen who had been elected, who were well liked, who knew what they were doing, so I was really scared to kind of branch out and try new things because there’s kind of an established mold there and I didn’t want to be sticking out. But as I’ve gotten older, and I’ve spent more time on Student Council, I’ve realized that the most important thing is that we are thinking outside of the box and being a little bit more creative with the initiatives that we have.