American politics vs. student politics: an
informative retrospective piece
By Colby Merrill, Reporter
As Associated Student Body (ASB) President there is much weight and pressure on me to do what is “best” for the student body. As a senior in Jason Butler’s American Government class, I am able to identify similarities between the structure of ASB and the US Government and apply them to my work as ASB president. While the current judicial branch of the U.S. Government decides what is constitutional based on the U.S. Constitution and previous legal cases, ASB makes decisions with the study body’s wellbeing in mind. Similarly to the United States’ executive branch,Vashon Island High School’s ASB is led by the Executive Board, composed of a president, vice presidents, secretary, treasures, and sound commissioners, who collect student input. The Executive Board oversees cabinets consisting of five students from each grade.
ASB has three committees that are composed of students from ASB cabinets. These committees include event planning, spirit day planning, and advertising. The committees are led by two to three members of the executive board. These committees could be compared to the U.S government’s “Checks and Balances” system which ensures shared powers between the federal and state Governments. ASB’s committees keep the power between the Executive Board and cabinets fair.
The first committee in charge of spirit days is led by vice president Katy Kirkpatrick and secretary Ava Woo. The goal of their committee is to brainstorm ideas and organize plans for the spirit days.
The second committee is responsible for the large event planning. ASB planned to have multiple dances this year, but COVID-19 has been very unpredictable which has made us have to cancel or reschedule events. The group is overseen by vice president Sam Walker as well as financial advisors Mack Radic and Tshering Sherpa who handle the budget.
The Advertising Committee is in charge of the posters that we use to promote events. The primary focus of this committee is to communicate what ASB is doing to the student body. The committee acts as a news outlet by publicizing events. It’s similar to the way political candidates use campaigns to advertise their candidacy but unlike campaigns this committee does not require a budget nor does it advertise a specific person but instead an event/events, it is run by the people on the committee. It is organized by Lucy Woodruff and Delilah Higura, who also serve as the elected sound commissioners.
The senior class cabinet meets with office manager and advisor of the class of 2022 Jaqueline Merrill. They meet every other Friday during SMART to plan prom and other class events with other students in the class of 2022. This is also comparable to the checks and balances system but reaches even further by allowing seniors who are not on ASB to plan for prom as well.
On Monday evenings the Executive Board meets and we address areas of concern. These meetings are usually where bigger decisions are made. The next day they are passed to the cabinets in a briefing run by the vice presidents in the Great Hall. The Tuesday meeting informs the cabinets on upcoming events that have been decided upon by the Executive Board and keeps the committees in the loop. These meetings are like standard political briefings, but instead of covering one thing, they cover multiple plans at once.
The biggest similarity between the U.S. government and student politics at VHS is how all the committees work together. Rough spots are natural in government, and in many ways COVID-19 has allowed us to adapt better, with events like the Tailgate before the Homecoming game, the movie night, and the class olympics. As of now ASB is planning several more events and we are excited to bring even more spirit to the school in the second semester.