Editorial: What does Stuco stand for?

The editorial board confers on student councils purpose and execution

It’s been four years of watching Student Council (Stuco) elections. For some teachers it’s been much more than that.
As a Stuco election season approaches dozens of underclassmen declare their eagerness to participate in democracy, making cheesy slogans and silly videos competing for students’ votes. Every year you get classics like a mock Regina George video, posters with “Nguyen” Puns, and favorite teachers who’ve been asked to endorse a candidate (funnily enough though, they’re often in multiple videos). But, with students living in an era where the first president they remember is Obama, there’s usually one underlying phrase in their campaigns: “change.”
The issue we take with this is that it never happens. Although they may be enthusiastic, no student can change the school. They can add or revise events on a calendar, they can hope to pull more kids into the gym every three months, they can organize a good Homecoming (impossible), but change has to come from administration, meaning any work from Stuco has to get a heavy amount of approval, and so their original intent might no longer exist. Even then, it seems Stuco has gotten lazy about organizing anything. Spirit weeks are published after school the day before, social media launches are solely on one app if they exist at all, and assemblies seem poorly planned.
Having anything predominantly student led faces issues, namely that the students in charge are often divided among many other classes and clubs. The students elected into these leadership roles are often well known amongst many groups of students because they’re heavily involved, so when it comes to running student council they’re found at a crossroads between activities. Whether it’s that they’re also in the IB program, cheer, track or president of other clubs, it becomes difficult to devote time evenly. And even if you are the perfect student council member, your work is always waiting for council approval. And students are notoriously late procrastinators making it start late minute.
It seems that Stuco lacks a clear mission. Many problems get blamed on the leadership class that aren’t their fault, but when students complain about football and basketball spirit at games, homecoming or prom, this is a responsibility of theirs. This past semester the Stuco Instagram page seems to be the most active it has in recent years; Homecoming spirit days were posted far enough in advance, but themes for football games were usually shared on another account that wasn’t promoted. Why aren’t these connected? Is Stuco not about student spirit and pride? But come second semester, there was a complete lack of content even when spirit days were held often.
If Stucos goal is school spirit rallying, they need to embrace that. Their purpose is confusing; often events pass that people acknowledge were organized by Stuco, like assemblies and homecoming, but besides these five or so calendar events Student Council moves in shadows when they could take a huge leadership role if they embraced their job as school spirit leaders. Even then, the most impressive assembly of the year, the Black History assembly, is put together by Black Student Union. Although Stuco plans events, often for fundraising purposes, such as Mr. NKC and other philanthropy drives, they lack a connection to students. Even this year, Mr. NKC’s money went to an organization not connected to the pageant. If Stuco exists to help students connect to the community, they need to publish these events more clearly. Activities like Leaf Rake Day are fun and a nice tradition for the city of North Kansas City but the National Honors Society has a strong apparent goal to help students participate in and create community events. Why couldn’t Stuco and the NHS work together more clearly?
Typically, the leadership block assembles students who do want to be involved. But this also leaves out students who would like to be involved but aren’t able to be in the class, and when there are “student council meetings” during MTSS they’re for social purposes and not organizing and getting feedback. Because of this, it seems students shift to student unions.
There are four different student unions at Northtown, which is a unique feature of the student body, but with the combination of events at Northtown rotating between cultural and spirit related, it seems Stuco has instead stepped back. Although there were fewer assemblies this year, these that did happen were sparsely attended, due to a lacking student interest and spirit. Except for Student Union events. Stuco should embrace their job: school spirit and organizing dances, and run with that. Fundraising should lump in with other clubs to uplift their causes. Stuco should organize. Creating change in the student body is as simple as giving them pride in their school. Even if they’re poked at that their job is “making posters,” it is, and there are no posters in sight.