Photo courtesy of Echo Allen, Isaac Slevin.
Hi ETHS, this is Echo Allen, your Student Representative to the School Board, and Isaac Slevin, your Vice Student Representative.
Who we are and what we do
As a non-voting member of the School Board, the Student Rep has the ability to comment on Board proposals and decisions, voice student concerns directly to board members, and orchestrate student-led policy change.
The second key role of the Student Rep and Vice Student Rep is leading Student Union, which is still working to change school policies even while we’re not in school.
It’s been a while! Uncertainty seems to be the new normal. Many of us and our families are facing new challenges and more dire circumstances, which makes it so important to focus on our wellbeing. I have been trying to wrap my head around wellbeing, and I think it is cultivated by living purposefully and living well. These days, I ask pretty much everyone I talk to what makes them crack a smile and find purpose in their days to get inspiration.
Everyone has their own way of doing things. Some run, others puzzle. Some listen to music, others produce it. Some FaceTime, others Zoom. I have tried a lot of those things, for example; I’ve been listening to Lauren Hill’s MTV Unplugged album because the songs are long and fit the mood. I also go on walks, I like smiling/saying hi to people I pass at a good social distance. Ultimately, this is a good time to figure out what you enjoy because, unlike school, our days are not defined by a rigid time table or calendar.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I generally knew where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to do every day a month in advance. Now, every week holds something completely unexpected. Coronavirus has deconstructed our understanding of time and forced us to focus on living. When COVID-19 finally slows down, and we are able to take a breath within six feet of someone else, we get to decide where to start our corona-free lives with a fresh perspective on time and enjoyment.
Until then, we need to focus on strengthening our community while the pandemic tests our resolve. Students have been eager to make sure that we are supporting each other and the vulnerable people in Evanston. Many students have organized and contributed to mutual aid initiatives. Over 40 students participated in writing 2,000 kind notes for each food bag distributed at community centers for Evanston students and their families.
I am excited to learn new ways to find purpose and live well, so let me know what you’ve been doing under the stay-at-home order and at a distance! Social distancing can make us feel isolated, but I hope that you are able to look beyond the six feet and see the amazing people who are smiling back at you with an open heart.
The Student Union Instagram account, @eths.studentunion has been posting updates about e-learning and volunteering, as well as resources for food, healthcare, and shelter. We’ll continue to update the page as national and local situations rapidly change, and as more information becomes available.
There are lots of community resources available for you and your family during this time. Evanston Aid is a hub for families in need of shelter, food, transportation, prescription pickup, and a multitude of other resources. In addition, the City of Evanston has posted lots of resources of its own here, including health recommendations, digital library access, and new rules and pledges regarding evictions and the shutting off of water and utilities.
There are also lots of ways to help out during this time! Evanston Aid is using this form matching people able to pick up groceries, run errands, and provide childcare with people in the community able to provide those services. If you’re a junior or senior and are interested in mentoring someone in grades 6-10, please fill out this form! Mentors will be matched with students with similar interests and passions and meet over Zoom with their mentees.
Even though we are not able to meet physically, Student Union is using this time to continue our work on school policy. We’re currently working on projects to eliminate or deemphasize finals, establish more gender-neutral bathrooms, and revamp the meditation room. If you’d like to work with us on any of these projects (or have a project of your own you’d like us to help you with), please email us! As we’re in the nascent stages of these projects, we’d love to hear from you about any experiences you’ve had relating to these issues. Our initiatives are made possible by the thoughts and testimonials from you!
Right now, despair and uncertainty can be as dangerous as any virus, and sometimes more contagious. But by helping others, we can find purpose and strength. Many of us will be asked to help our families; and many of us are asking how we can help our community. Please reach out to me, Echo Allen, at firstname.lastname@example.org, the community service department, or follow The Student Union Instagram account, @eths.studentunion, to get up to date information on accessing support and ways to engage in the community. Stay aware and stay engaged.
Until next time…
Stay safe and stay engaged! <3