It’s Your Choice to Add Your Voice

Michael Vento, Editor

Any kind of institution needs a sense of voice and communication. And the best part about Student Union is that the kids are that voice. They are the communication.”

— Mr. Mooney

Are you interested in current affairs? Do you feel the need to talk about issues that plague the school? The power to voice your opinion is provided through the Student Union.

“What is Student Union?” you might be asking. Well, you’re not alone.

Fellow Sophomore Sam Murphy claims she knows “nothing” about the organization.

“How do I join it?” Alexa Mitchell, another Sophomore, inquired. The new head of Student Union has the answers.

Sophomore Joseph Vento said, “Student Union establishes a clear line of communication between the student body and the administration. If a student has a problem or if there is a current issue being discussed throughout the school, people from any grade can come to room 326 after school on Thursdays.”

Vento also explained that Student Union meetings are not a big commitment.

“There is no requirement for a student to be at every student union meeting we have. You can pop in whenever you like. And if there’s a particular issue that you’re passionate about that you know we are covering, you can come in for that issue alone and never see us again, or you can stay as long as you want!”

This might be reassuring to those who want to participate in the club, but have sports or intense academic studies that fill most of their days.

Although a portion of the student body might be unaware of the club, Mr. Liam Mooney, the history teacher who hosts and oversees the union, said, “We’re getting more well known, especially throughout the past few years.”

Mooney said one of the most well-known activities Student Union organized last year was the, “The Student Union Walkout.”

For those unaware of the events that took place last year, Student Union planned a walkout on March 14, 2018, in response to the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Despite having to endure chilly weather, more than half of the students in the school participated in the event.

Mooney explained that the walkout was, “manufactured by the students in Student Union.” With the follow up question, “If there was no Student Union, would there be a walkout?” he quickly made clear that there would not, and that the Union was responsible for the planning of the activity.

However, the walkout did face some criticism. A portion of the student body believed the walkout was too controlled.

“We had some skeptics.” Mooney added. Still, he explained that different perspectives are welcome. “Students with different ideas are invited to voice their opinion in Student Union, no matter what they believe.”

Mooney further stated, “We really want all students to know they are welcome.”

So what’s the big problem? Even though Student Union is open to everybody and is not a heavy commitment, it is evident throughout the school there is a lack of knowledge of the club. As previously stated, a significant proportion of the student body was unaware of Student Union’s existence.

Student Union member Patty Gorton stated, “We could make ourselves more heard.”

Shelby Swanson, another Student Union member, supported Gorton’s argument by explaining the club could work on, “raising awareness.” However, the blame cannot fall on Student Union alone.

Mooney stated that the organization, “could improve on forming a stronger collective voice. But it is still the students responsibility to come.”

Vento explained that a reason why students might not be interested in the club is that they don’t, “know” Student Union. “We really need to come out of our shell and explain to the student body who we are and what we’re doing,” he says.  “And I think they can form their own opinions from there.”

Mooney stressed that, “Any kind of institution needs a sense of voice and communication. And the best part about Student Union is that the kids are that voice. They are the communication.”

“My favorite thing about Student Union is the conversation.” Vento explained. “People say what they think. It can flow, it can change. I think it’s about listening to people and responding. Just the dynamic of speaking and expressing your opinion.”

Good news for the after school club is that their first meeting on Thursday, September 20 had an impressive increase in attendance. This could be due to increased efforts of advertisement.

“There’s still room from growth.” Vento said, implying the union could still expand. He, and the club as a whole, still want the students to know Student Union is there to fight for the issues that the students are passionate about.

“We’re there to make sure the students voices are heard by the High School Administration.” Vento explained. “And we work with the administration to accomplish goals that will be beneficial towards the school. That’s why we exist. We (the student body) have so much potential!” Vento said.

Thus, the organization of Student Union is present to give power to the students.

Vento explained to all the students at NKHS, “It is always your choice to add your voice.”