At the beginning of the month, the ICS Council of Stewards once again held a student body election in order to determine who the school’s next set of leaders will be. From sign-up forms to campaign videos, this was a chance for students from all grade levels to seize the day and make a difference in the school community. Although the idea of it all seems like an opportunity anyone would want to grab, sometimes it isn’t so easy to spark inspiration in others.
For the sake of context, here’s a brief rundown on ICS’s election history. The first ever election was held in-person only a few years ago, not so long after the council was first established as well. It was a simple process wherein a Head Chair would facilitate a meeting for a certain batch, and whoever volunteers or gets nominated will have a quick say on why they should be voted. After a day or two of getting responses from the student body, the people with the most votes would then be announced as official members of the council. During that time though, many students were confused on who were actually qualified to run—a lot of core members from various guilds weren’t able to sign up because it was a misunderstanding that they weren’t allowed to join.
Flashforward to present day, the process of the elections have remained relatively the same with some improvements to clear up past confusion. However, the online set-up we have now provides new and arguably bigger problems for the council to solve, and The Owl Pamphlet is ready with the details to explain how these factors affected this year’s elections.
A survey was recently conducted to ask for statements not only from the current Head Chairs themselves but also from a selected group of students to see if their perceptions of the elections were aligned. After a careful review of all the responses, it is clear that both groups are aware of what needs to be done in order to enhance the student body’s experience.
Many of the select students agreed that the campaigning process needed a little more refinement. A common concern among them was that the candidates running should have had more time to prepare their campaign. During the miting de avance that was held, particularly for the Chairs-in-Training, the candidates were only given a few minutes to speak—some answering fewer questions than others. It was also suggested to make campaign videos optional rather than mandatory.
The Head Chairs on the other hand identified a broader yet crucial aspect to improve upon. President Aleea Fedillaga stated that, “I believe that we can do better in encouraging the student body to run to be a batch [or] strand representative or Chair-in-Training. Unfortunately, we lacked candidates this school year.”
Many of the other Head Chairs believed this was a result of lack of communication. Vice President Calista Tiu for example suggested finding a better platform that students (specifically Grade 7 students) are more familiar with, that way they can access information about the council easily. Clubs Head Janelle Villanueva also suggested “expounding the SC's responsibilities and projects so students may understand its importance and benefits”.
The students who answered the survey also had more to say about the miting de avance, the newest addition to the ICS elections. Although there were a few bumps in the path, the majority felt like it was a necessary inclusion to the entire process because it allowed the candidates to elaborate on their stances while at the same time let the voters know more about who they’re voting for. Student Welfare Jef Fernandez summarizes the importance of this by stating, “The Head Chairs found it necessary to have the miting de avance in the election season to promote trust and transparency between the candidates and the constituents.”
Despite the setbacks along the way, the election as a whole was successful according to both the Head Chairs and the selected group of students. After all, the overall end goal was achieved—students were elected and the majority of the population exercised their right to vote. At the same time, a little history was made too when Iris Ang was elected as the very first Grade 10 Chair-in-Training.
As the ICS Student Council continues to work hard in adjusting and making appropriate changes that will benefit the student body, we can be assured that a bright future is ahead of us. The election is one of many events that will provide unique experiences to each student. Although mistakes will be made at first, let us not forget that flaws give us the chance to learn and improve.