Collecting Constructive Criticism

Parker’s Student Government creates a new 360 Review Council


Ballots! Voting! Campaigns! These things are among the many items that every election has in common. Promises are also another important and fundamental aspect of all elections. During every election season, each candidate runs on ideas that they promise will become a reality if they are elected. Parker’s Student Government elections are no different. One of the many promises that came out of the 2020 election season was to create a 360 Review Council. This is an idea that is going to become a reality in the 2020-21 school year. 

Senior Bodie Florsheim, a 2020 Presidential Candidate, proposed the idea of a 360 Review Council to increase student engagement and to acquire honest feedback from the Student Body when he was running for president. The 360 Review Council was the idea that Florsheim ran on. “I needed a big idea running for President, and the main problem that I saw with Student Government was the lack of communication between the Cabinet and the entire Student Body. I felt like they needed a bigger voice,” Florsheim said. “So, I thought a student-led Council where there could be total anonymity, and a chance for students to speak up would be the best way to do that.”

When senior Carter Wagner was elected as Student Government President, he thought that the 360 Review Council would be a great way to improve Student Government. “The elected Cabinet officials and I decided when we were picking the new Cabinet that it was going to be a great idea to implement no matter what,” Wagner said. Florsheim is serving as the 360 Review Council Head for the 2020-21 school year. 

Florsheim believes that the goal is to have the Council composed of students who are not usually involved or see a change they want to make in Student Government. Florsheim will relay the information and opinions, including his own, to the Cabinet so they can improve. “It would be an easy way for the student body to have a quick and easy voice without feeling like they are exposed,” Florsheim said. The role of the 360 Review Council Head is similar to the role of Sergeant at Arms, but on a much larger scale. 

 The Council is a new organization in the Upper School, and most of its logistics have been left for Florsheim to figure out. “The way that it is going to be formatted is really whatever Bodie decides as the review head,” Wagner said. 

Florsheim’s main objective is to solidify the role of the Council and the Council head. “I want to make sure that we can work out all the kinks because there are definitely going to be issues, but my goal is to limit those and make sure that it works, and that we can give as much feedback as possible,” Florsheim said. He also believes that this Council is especially important this year during COVID-19 because the Student Body will not have the opportunity to gather in person. “It’s going to be really difficult to get everyone’s opinions out there, especially during a plenary session,” Florsheim said, “so it will be really helpful to have this sort of position, and I want to use it to its full extent this year.”

The system that currently provides honest feedback to the Student Government Cabinet is made up of anonymous Google Form surveys. “The Council is also a good alternative to the anonymous surveys that were done last year that did not go anywhere,” Wagner said.

Florsheim believes that the 360 Review Council will be more effective than the anonymous Google Form surveys because the Council provides the opportunity for conversation. “I believe that with a conversation format, you can also feed off of each other, so if we are in a meeting space those who are there can agree with others and be like ‘to add on this and this,’” Florsheim said. The Council provides the opportunity for good communication, teamwork, and feedback. 

Wagner, among others, wants the 360 Review Council to be a place for people who are not usually involved in Student Government to voice their opinions and to be heard. “So if you are someone who attends plenary but doesn’t usually go up to the mic or write comments,” Wagner said, “or maybe someone who goes to committee meetings but isn’t necessarily the committee head, it is a way to get involved in Student Government.” 

The 360 Review Council excites members of the Student Body as well because it will make more voices heard. “It is really interesting that anyone can be involved and that it can be a new perspective because oftentimes we hear a lot of the same perspectives over and over,” sophomore Eden Stranahan said. “This is a way to hear from new people.” 

The 360 Review Council also has the potential to diversify the voices and people of Student Government. “It is another way for people to get involved in Student Government,” Wagner said, “and that way you do not have the typical Student Government type person that has been doing it since maybe freshman year.” 

After Council meetings, Florsheim plans to take the notes he took during the meetings and carefully present it to the Cabinet in a way that will not offend anyone. “My goal is to really not offend people. It is to help them understand what we can improve as a whole,” Florsheim said. 

Like many aspects of students’ lives, the 360 Review Council will have to adjust to being remote, but being remote may also have its advantages. “An issue might be that people who are not involved in Student Government might not just go to Plenary, and if that happens we won’t have as much information as we would in school,” Wagner said. “But the benefit of that is that we will be hearing more feedback from people who are even less involved in Student Government and get even more feedback on where they think we can be improving and branching out.”

Florsheim thinks that the Council’s role is very important during remote learning because it is so easy for students to disregard Student Government. “It is easy to absolutely forget about it, not go to a Zoom meeting, whatever it might be. It is just so easy for kids not to care,” Florsheim said. Although, the 360 Review Council provides an outlet for members of the Student Body to voice their concerns, give feedback, and get involved in Student Government, it also gives the Cabinet the opportunity to best tailor Student Government to the wants of the Student Body. “So for the 360 Review Council to be in place allows the Cabinet to dive deeper into the students’ opinions and to kind of work on that, and improve to make it more engaging and more entertaining,” Florsheim said. 

The 360 Review Council will best succeed if as many people as possible are involved in it. “I really encourage everyone to try out for the Council,” Florsheim said. “It is definitely still a work in progress, but the goal is to have as many voices heard as possible, so if anyone is thinking about applying for it or if they want a voice, definitely keep their eyes peeled for a position.”

As the President, Wagner hopes that this will be an effective way to make real change. “My hope is the review head will openly communicate what we can do to improve the system,” Wagner said. 

Overall, Florsheim can’t wait for all that the 360 Review Council has to offer this year. “I am really excited to see where this can go because I know that there is so much potential with this Council, and there is so much good that can come from it,” Florsheim said, “so I am really excited to see exactly where we can go from here.”