Critique: The Ins and Outs of Sophomore Council

Krishna Khawani, Staff Writer 

Artwork by Austin Kaufman

If you spend even a couple days at UHS, you’ll definitely hear a lot about student council, especially the leadership skills imparted upon its members, its level of involvement in the school, and the familiarity with corruption in the election process. On the off chance that you don’t know what council is, it’s that group that spends thousands of dollars on pieces of wood for one night and then tears them down the very next day. The whole thing sounds like a house flipping scheme gone wrong, but I knew that there had to be more to the organization than that.
So, in typical student council fashion, I decided to use my popularity to my advantage and appointed myself as one of their elite members. The process was actually quite simple: I just walked into a workhouse. Immediately, there was a flock of red-eyed, sunburnt council members lunging to welcome me. If I had a dollar for every time I was told “Thank you so much for coming,” I would be able to pay for all of council’s shenanigans. Looking around the house, it was clear that there was a sense of community among the people in this group who all clearly did not know how to use a drill. 
“It’s really lovely working with every single one of them, and I’ve been blown away by their efforts and accomplishments,” Sophomore President Jean Meyer said. “Council members are super committed to helping the school be a better place and more spirited.”
But how do these “super committed” council members get elected? Returning UHS students have a choice: either pitch themselves in videos shorter than most of the new freshmen or fall to the mercy of the new class president. Freshman council, on the other hand, gets to have a bit more fun with it. And by fun, I mean potential members can act like real candidates being elected for office. But if I haven’t made it clear already, I mean that they can try to bribe other people for the position.
Now before ASB comes knocking on my door, I’m talking about food bribes (high school freshmen are too broke for real money). These are technically against the rules of running for council, but who doesn’t like a free cookie from their “favorite” candidate? So far, council seemed to be digging itself into a pretty deep hole, but I took it upon myself to check what else it does for the school that would redeem it.
As it turns out, there really isn’t much council does besides spamming our Instagram stories with graphics. Granted, members do handle coat check at dances, but we all know someone who lost their wallet during that madhouse. Other than these one off responsibilities, student council’s main obligation is to be the spirit hub of UHS. 
“Council invites people to radiate their class spirit,” said sophomore Nadia Jahanbin. “We actually encourage outside help and want everyone to experience the joy of putting in work for Spirit Night.” 
The idea of getting joy from work seemed a bit odd to me, so I dove deeper into the student council rabbit hole and found yet another aspect: the dance. Every class council puts on a massive and somewhat coordinated dance during the homecoming pep rally and football game. I decided to once again infiltrate the ranks and show up to the dance practices, which were far from a picnic. They started at a grueling 9 o’clock in the morning and went on until the threat of heat stroke became too real. This being one of the most strenuous dance routines I had ever been a part of, I left with a mild concussion, a pulled neck muscle, and an awkward farmers tan.
By the end of my week as part of the social elite of UHS, I was ready to leave. The life of a council member is really something that requires a different breed of humans to handle. Because at the end of the day, these kids are sacrificing their GPAs, their sleep, their mental and physical health, their driveways, their cars, their garages, and their bodies all in the name of hype. If that isn’t something that we can all appreciate, then I guess we really are the college drones that UHS is known all too well for.