Community Council alters school outreach program

As the Community Council was officially unveiled at the end of last school year, members of the Council utilized the summer months to create databases, organize events and prepare the agenda for the group’s inaugural year. Today, the council will set-up a meeting area specifically for student inquiries.

Summer meetings have been spent conducting research and compiling information about various organizations and projects. The council has strived to develop contacts at organizations in order to provide students with ways to begin their own projects.

The primary goal of the Community Council, according to member Taylor Hooks ’09, is to directly impart the new community service requirement, which consists of one half-day event with at least three other students, to students and faculty members alike.

“For something new like [the Community Council], we’re going to be inventing the wheel,” member Lauren Wolfen ’09 said. “We have spent a lot of time working on the simple, fundamental things that one wouldn’t expect to be time consuming.”

In addition to meeting and collectively writing the purpose and mission statement of the council, members have been continually meeting with faculty about policy and liability of potential projects and events.

“Obviously, we want to work on transparency and accessibility,” Hooks said.

“We want people to be able to approach the council and make their community service experience as easy as possible.”

While the Council is planning on hosting at least one community service event per month, the members strongly believe in advocating student initiative, Hooks said.

“We want students to incorporate family and friends into what they already do,” she said.

The Council will hold an office in the student lounge next to the offices of Father J. Young and Director of Student Affairs Jordan Church.

Members will try to be present in the office during all periods.

“In order to generate excitement, people need to see us in different ways,” Wolfen said. “There might be a particular event that really catches someone’s attention.”

The community service program and requirement first changed last year as former Community Service Director Jan Stewart was gradually phased out of her position.

“It isn’t necessarily better, just achieving a different goal,” Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said. “It’s a way of building community that’s better in many ways to collecting hours.”

While the physical requirement has been lessened, both Huybrechts and the Community Council would like the school community to develop.

“There are youngsters who are terribly committed to working for a cause, but I’d like us to be very intentional about doing Harvard-Westlake community service,” Huybrechts said.