The most common definition of a leader in Upper School is “a person who organizes, unites, and motivates a group to work the way it needs to.” The leadership proposal that has been presented by the leadership committee suggests that candidates for StuCo elections must have some past leadership experience to back up his/ her campaign. In the OES community, there has never been a lack of leadership opportunities, such as ASAC, SLAC, MWM, MUN, and ISA. Since StuCo is also a committee that serves the entire student body, the leadership committee believes the candidate should show a history of participation in such committees and skill in solving issues...
Many students believe that the role of the StuCo president is “a person who entertains people,” “a person who runs Gathering,” or “a person makes announcements,” but such definitions are all too narrow. The president does more than that: he also plans the dances, makes a speech during the Bell Tower ceremony, mediates communication between students and adults, unites the OES community, and is just creative in general. Certainly StuCo needs a powerful and influential student to lead, but will an experienced person who has demonstrated leadership opportunities be a better choice for the position than a person who is popular, but lacks leadership experience?
Advisors of the various committees assert that, “leadership comes in different forms.” They believe that experienced candidates will be better prepared than novices to take on the responsibilities in the future. The leadership opportunity list can be divided into two categories: service and issue solving. Service, for example, includes ASAC, SLAC, MWM, which, according to their advisors, are those groups that “help students to plan ahead, develop communication and public speaking skills, organize events, and mentor other members within the same committee,” skills that a StuCo president needs. In addition, most of the groups are open to everybody who is willing to step forward; their members are people who are always willing to embrace their jobs and commit themselves fully to them. As a result, as StuCo candidates, no matter how much they have taken on in the service groups, have demonstrated their willingness to serve the community.
The other category, problem solving, includes groups such as MUN, ISA, DC and dorm prefects. Students involved in these activities deal with global issues, intercultural issues, or residential issues. OES is a large community with more than eight hundred students. Although StuCo mostly represents the Upper School, they are also the medium between the three separate schools that form OES. Students go to the StuCo whenever they have complaints or need advice about their OES life. Therefore, it is very important that StuCo members have some problem-solving experience in order to do a better job serving the student body in the future.
However, there is also an opposing voice in the OES community about this requirement. “People who seek this job are already motivated enough to serve the community, and they can get the job training when they are put onto this position,” explained Rob Orr, former StuCo advisor. “Maybe those with prior experience are more capable than the people who have not done anything yet, but inexperienced people can catch up.” Our MWM advisor, Chris Myers, voiced a different opinion: “The experience of participating in leadership activities provides knowledge of US life.” And as a student body president, we need somebody who knows the student body, the US, and even the entire OES community.