Fireside Chats, Issue 10

Virtual Student Government

With the ever-changing circumstances in the week of March 9, we regrettably canceled our proceedings originally planned for Student Government. Because the Parker community will no longer be congregating in the auditorium for the time being, and we are all in the same boat practicing social distancing, I will take this issue of The Weekly to discuss some of the initiatives the Cabinet has been working on to keep our momentum. My hope is that this will answer most or all of your questions.

As of writing, many of these ideas are tentative; however, there is one matter that remains firm. Getting closer to this term’s end, it is all-important that we have a smooth transition of power. Platforms were due on March 17 electronically. We recognize that this is a different situation, so we are currently working on some concepts to replace the normal proceedings. For speeches, we are planning to do live streams instead. For the Senate debates, we’ll use Google Meet and screen-record a session with the Senate heads and the candidates. These events are likely to take place during the week’s “Flex” periods or after school hours. More information about this is on its way out and will be available soon.

It is imperative that we as a student body try to maintain a sense of consistency in the Student Government and ever-evolving improvement to the student experience. As such, we have rolled out a Slack group for all members of the student body to join. Slack is a cloud-based digital service FWPMUN has used in years past. It allows large groups of people to sort into smaller, niche groups, allowing people to communicate efficiently and without friction, sharing links and documents through a single app or website. There is also a feature called “channels,” which are like the niche groups I just mentioned. They function similarly to group chats but each one serves a specific purpose. There even is a “#random” channel that comes default. Hopefully Slack will also serve as an opportunity to cultivate some more interaction between each other over these weeks.

In various channels, we would like the Cabinet and committees, or any other willing participant, to start digital events. A good example that one committee could start a book club and schedule weekly check-ins for whatever they decide to read. Another idea: Computer Technology Committee could hold office hours for people struggling with technical difficulties. As per the passing of a recent proposal, we are also looking into another program called Engage, which will hopefully make it easier to facilitate voting and ratification.

And to my fellow seniors, this is supposed to be our year. This is supposed to be a time for prom, class trips, portraits, graduation, and so on. Let’s be abundantly clear: it’s a bummer, and you might feel that COVID-19 is robbing you of cherished experiences you were supposed to have. If you are upset, it is okay to embrace those feelings and commiserate. There’s little to nothing that you as an individual can do to make up for the last time. That’s just the reality. Notwithstanding, here’s some encouragement, as well: our generation can navigate new worlds and bounce between digital spaces with ease. We are resilient, diverse, and innovative. So, like any other adverse circumstance, we adapt. With all the additional time indoors, there’s bound to be some Renaissance. Listen to a podcast. Make a podcast. Learn a programming language. Read a poem. Write one. Get the idea? There’s always something to do. How about writing journal entries for posterity or reaching out to your peers over the Internet? Share memes, binge Netflix and Disney+ or whatever you’d like. Presumably, after school, you will also have some time since most extracurricular activities have been suspended. The silver lining is that you’ve been provided a new space to have a new perspective and newfound time to make something special and worthwhile. So, what will you do?