The little things

My  November column was about the disappointing amount of trash on our campus. Unfortunately no solution has been found, and the problem has continued and grown, resulting in the closing of the student lounge. However, this issue, along with other basic school problems, was not brought up by the junior prefect candidates in this year’s elections, or in any elections for that matter.

The election speeches have mandatory attendance, and thus could have been used to influence a large part of the school body. The gatherings could have been used by the candidates to address real school issues. But issues like trash were not brought up by candidates until they were directly questioned about it.

I commend the candidates for trying to tackle the hefty task of our school’s identity and target the source of students’ apathy. There is a lack of common ground; no real force connects us as a community, which has led to disconnect and a social atmosphere of cliques. These are issues to be dealt with, but where is the attention to practical things?

At a certain point we have to put aside the idealistic rhetoric and get down to task about the basic operations of our school and its flaws that hinder students on a daily basis.

These speeches targeting student apathy were not as disappointing as some of the candidates’ speeches edging demagoguery. The Head Prefect candidates’ taking advantage of mob mentality by bashing the administration with vapid rhetoric was immature and ultimately useless.

A platform of disappointment is warranted, but can only work with a plan of hope or change. Especially in this environment, coming off the turbulent year that we have had, a platform for change is not only helpful but imperative.

Either we are smarter than the candidates think we are or the candidates have no practical foundation for their campaigns. The seemingly trivial things are, in the end, what make this campus run. We can debate “community” and “transparency” endlessly, but students are most immediately affected by problems like the flawed attendance system or the campus trash.
“Transparency” was used to death during the candidates’ speeches, and it was used in tandem with the mystery of the Prefect Council inner workings. But, for students, lack of transparency is of direct consequence when they receive an email from Attendance Officer J. Gabriel Preciado with “You’ve been assigned DETENTION!” in its subject heading.

Sending out this email is not only time consuming for Preciado, but also for the students who do not check the board daily. Giving the students access to the cut list over the internet, an idea Preciado has proposed for next year, is something that the Prefect candidates should have paid attention to.

There was so much emphasis on what we need and what we want in the candidates’ speeches. But the candidates should have realized that the students elect them to realize the practical problems, however lacking they may be in idealistic rhetoric.
All I can hope is that in the coming year the Prefect Council addresses more than what they expressed in their speeches as their priorities.