ASB Reconnected: Transparency and student involvement

You’ve seen their posters on the walls and witnessed their campaigns. But, with all the chaos that is being a student of  Palo Alto High School, it is easy for students to be unaware of what the Associated Student Body, the supposed voice of the student body, does.

It is common knowledge that Paly’s ASB predominantly organizes events like Homecoming, Spirit Week, Baccalaureate, graduation, and Cookies on the Quad, but what do they do in the inbetween?

The ASB constitution states that the organization’s goal is to “promote the best interests of the student body,” and ASB officers claim that not only do they work on representing students’ ideas to change Paly’s environment, they additionally coordinate with the school board and the district to make sure students’ voices are heard. 

Many fellow students are unaware of these meetings and how their elected officers are trying to seek change in the school and also in larger setting, the district. 

Sophomore Sarah Chan confirms this.

“I really enjoyed float building, but I’m not really associated with ASB, so I don’t know what they are doing right now.” Chan said. 

Another sophomore Antonia Mou agrees.“The student body definitely does not see everything ASB works on or accomplishes, which is something I think I’d like to see, especially when it comes to issues between students and the school board or district.”

ASB recognizes that there is an absence of communication and is working on improving their system to allow students to express their opinions directly to ASB for the future. 

Sophomore Class Vice President Avantika Singh says that ASB is trying to institute fishbowl discussions to take the input of students and even bring issues to the board’s attention.

Sophomore Class President Adora Zheng added, “If they’re really eager to talk about their ideas, they can come and there will be a bunch of officers there and most of the time it’s during lunch so we have pizza.”

Many have suggested that ASB publish notes from each meeting so that students can stay updated with their discussions, yet these notes already exist. 

After every meeting, Secretary Charlize Nguyen posts Minutes on the ASB website, which can be found under the “About” tab in Meeting Minutes 2018-19 to see what they have done. 

Nonetheless, their notes are only promoted on Facebook out of the three social media that they have. (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) and are often overlooked due to lack of attention brought to it by the student government. 

There’s also the hurdle of student’s personal lives, that is students care but not enough to go out of their way to stay in the loop. 

In the near future, Zheng says she wants to implement a feedback or suggestion form available through Google forms for the entire school year, making the platform more readily accessible than the current system. 

“ASB is the direct platform where you can make a change and there’s always a way to get your opinion out there,” Zheng said. “That’s where you personally, can get what you want to see change, changed.”