Incoming Head Prefects Michael Wagmeister ’13 and Katie Lim ’13 discussed their plans for next year.
What do you think are the best things that the Prefect Council has been able to achieve this year?
WAGMEISTER: Well, I think for me one thing we really did a good job on was the spring in your step event. When everybody found out that semi formal wasn’t going to be coming back a lot of people were disappointed, and we had to collectively come up with some event that everyone could enjoy. It was a lot of fun. We had a lot of great food.
LIM: Another thing we did well was that we had a focus on the cafeteria. We got water bottles back and we had been working on it for a number of years now.
What’s something you think the Council could have handled better?
WAGMEISTER: I think within the Council we can always try to be more efficient. For me I always just want to implement as many good ideas as possible. This year I feel like we were kind of lacking just in that direct communication with the student body. You know, small things are things that really, you know, are sometimes more important than the big things. Like getting phone chargers in the library, which was kind of a big deal. And as Katie mentioned, just continuing to build on that will be helpful.
LIM: I think communication is kind of a constant theme, its something of a struggle sometimes to open that communication line, between the students and the head prefects, that’s always in the back of my mind.
So is there anything you think you’ll focus on next year in communication with the rest of the student body?
WAGMEISTER: Definitely. That’s one of our big themes of what we want to try and do next year, I think what could be interesting is if we have some kind of large council which incorporates leaders from all different student organizations, whether it be student council or chronicle, or social committee, or any club, can kind of come in this forum environment and really speak their mind, and have a direct outlet of communication to really implement students’ ideas.
LIM: Another thing we will focus on next year is tradition, because spring in your step was a very new event for us, and in the past we’re used to having semi formal, and really just establishing that validation for a new tradition.
What does each of you think will be the most important part of being a Head Prefect?
WAGMEISTER: I think really just the liaison between the student body and the administration. It’s definitely only one of many hats we wear, but that definitely goes along with the communication aspect, and we really want to speak on behalf of students, all the students, and be their voice with the administration, whether that be through simple ideas or something as big as the honor board. We want to hear what the students have to say, and incorporate that.
LIM: I agree, I think the job of a Head Prefect is to voice the opinion of the student body and being able to communicate that to the administration, because I know we’ve talked about that. There’s also the communication between the administration and student council itself.
With regard to the Honor Code and the Honor Board, in light of the things that have happened this year, do you think that any changes need to be made with the system or to how students deal with the honor code.
WAGMEISTER: Well this subject has kind of elucidated many varied opinions in the student body, between the polls that Chronicle has taken or just in general, with students who have come up to me and spoken about certain issues, and of course we’re always trying to improve, so next year we’ll really try to answer those responses. A lot of students felt that the Honor Code is very valuable on this campus, but what constitutes an Honor Code infraction is a little vague, so we really want to try to open up the actual Honor Boarding process and the Honor Code-To try to resolve these issues and make it clear to all students.
LIM: The process of the Honor Board in general is always, the issue of transparency has always been a huge thing, so I think that’s definitely something we’ll be focusing on next year, because we have perceived what people want now.
In terms of serving on the Honor Board, generally that’s a fairly large responsibility, so what is that like for you? Could you kind of describe the process?
LIM: For me, I feel like it’s very humbling experience, because when I sit on the Honor Board I feel like my peers have elected me, it shows that they have faith in me to do the right thing. It’s not supposed to be a scolding thing. It’s really about that faith, to help them along the way where they might have done wrong, or slipped up.
WAGMEISTER: I completely agree with Katie, it’s really, you really try to make the best assessment possible, on behalf of that student, based on your judgment, based on- and remember that’s your fellow peer so you can really understand what they’re going through and a lot of us have been in similar situations, maybe, and can really relate to what that student is going through, in the pressure filled, sometimes, environment at Harvard-Westlake.
How do you think your time as prefects over the last few years has prepared you for your new position next year?
WAGMEISTER: Well being on Prefect Council the past few years, one thing I’ve learned that’s helped is that we kind of have a little bit of experience dealing with issues that come before the prefect council. We kind of gain an instinct of where to go, who to go to. Mr. Church always emphasizes that we should use our resources. That’s a big thing that we’re trying to do, take each individual idea and go to the people that we think would best help us to get it across.
LIM: And with the job head prefect specifically, with both of us having been on prefect council for the past few years, it’s going to be a huge help, because we’ve really been able to see and observe the head prefects up close, because a student body knows these people as head prefects, but what do they really know about the process of what they do? So having the ability to be on prefect council and really see what they do, it’s going to be a huge help for us.
In addition to kind of being able to model your actions next year off of the kind of mentorship of this years head prefects, have they given you any specific advice in terms of what you’re going to do next year.
WAGMEISTER: Definitely, their advice has been really helpful. It’s definitely a pretty demanding position, to deal with all of the things that come up. But they definitely emphasize efficiency and getting things done on time and early. So we’ve already starting doing things to get ready for next year. So once all the senior class, junior class prefects, excuse me get elected, we already want to start scheduling some meetings, even before the end of this year, really get together and really start on planning what is hopefully going be a great year.
LIM: I think some of the biggest advice was that it’s execution, and it’s efficiency, it’s really getting as much as you possibly can done in the best way possible. Because obviously we’ve already discussed increasing communication and transparency and increasing communication between the prefect council and the student body, so if we are able to be efficient with the things we do, the more efficient we are, the more in touch we can become with the student body, which is another step towards figuring out the whole issue.