Student Council Plans for a Year Like No Other

Zoe Alford '23, Contributor

Throughout the years, Student Council—one of the oldest student organizations on campus—has worked to make Loomis Chaffee a better place for the student body. Their projects vary from making grapes available in the dining hall to creating and editing the Student Bill of Rights.

Loomis has changed dramatically this year, and with those changes comes numerous new issues that the student body is facing. This year’s Student Council President, Aidan Gilles ’21, will face a unique challenge compared to the councils before the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked about his plans for the year, Aidan said, “My plans for Student Council this year are probably very different now from what I was thinking in the spring … or what I was thinking when I was running [for Student Council President]….What we’re really working on this year is establishing a strong connection with the administration, just having an established passageway to share our thoughts with the administration in order to properly respond to all of the issues that are coming up.”

Recently, the Student Council has been discussing how asynchronous classes have been running, both for online and in-person students. Teachers and students alike had to adapt to this new system of learning and with the uncharted territory comes obstacles. Student Council representatives have been diligently reporting their constituents’ comments, complaints, and ideas on how to make this new style of classes easier on everyone.

“I feel like we have gotten really great feedback from all the council members…the benefit of having such a large representative organization is that we have people who are taking all different kinds of classes in all different kinds of departments. And because of that, we get very in-depth feedback on what does and doesn’t work,” Aidan said.

But asynchronous classes aren’t the only thing Student Council has been focused on. So far this year, additional task groups are working on having student representation in faculty meetings, reviewing the student handbook rules, and educating the student body about mental health. The mental health task group that was started last year and continues to be a large priority for the Council.

“We’re working very closely with the Norton Center to make sure that we are continuing mental health education. We feel that’s something that is, you know, kind of major. Right now, especially, it is affecting young people [and] because of COVID that effect has gotten more exasperated,” Aidan said.

Although this school year is different in almost every aspect, some things in Student Council have stayed the same. StuCo is used to working closely with the Dining Hall and with Athletics and expects to have small projects involving these departments throughout the year. The issue of how much plastic waste the dining hall has been producing in light of new COVID-19 protocols has already been brought up.

The virus has caused many changes in day-to-day life at Loomis, so this year is guaranteed to present an abnormal amount of challenges. However, Student Council is always working towards improving student life for everyone. As Aidan said, “we need to assume that this is going to last for a while even if it doesn’t. We want to make sure that we get it right, that way we can stay as high level as an institution as we always have been.”