ASG FORum Improvement


Felicia Mo

Arnav Sharma (10) from the student body and Krithik Varghese (10) from ASG made sure their underclassmen felt welcome and informed.

Felicia Mo, Staff Writer

Irvington’s first public forum of the year was an impressive start for ASG.

On the FLEX period of Wednesday, Nov. 1, I headed to the cafeteria to cover the event out of journalistic responsibility, thinking it would be below my expectations—many students have branded ASG’s public forums to be a complete waste of time and mostly full of fake promises in previous years. To my surprise, however, this public forum was a different story.

ASG operated quickly and efficiently. As soon as the bell rang, they wasted no time in starting their public forum and separating their members into small groups. This division method had been used last year, a change from the original format which involved students discussing ideas with the whole of ASG instead of with smaller groups.

“It used to be that public forum was to just come to an ASG business meeting and watch us do our business meetings. It wasn’t very interactive,” said ASG President Jasmine Tong-Seely. “Last year, we started bringing in more interest groups and tables based on who was going to be there. We’re trying to continue that trend of more targeted conversations.”

Each table had around three non-ASG and two to three ASG students. A projector displayed topics that the tables could discuss, from events that had occurred over the past two months (e.g. Homecoming Dance/Week, school spirit, and rallies) to student-staff relationships and connections on campus. ASG members asked the student body about how ASG could improve, events they could host in the future, and (especially for freshmen) how students were coping with high school.

I was especially impressed with ASG’s responses to student inquiries and input. Although the turnout for the first public forum could have been better, with around 50-60 students total, ASG gave the participants sufficient time to express their ideas and replied optimistically, yet reasonably. As I walked around and listened in to different conversations, I noticed many ASG members taking detailed notes on their laptops and also getting to know their student body better. When asked about subjects such as the diversity of ASG, lack of school spirit, and possible bias in class council applications, many ASG members were very transparent in their responses and admitted to such flaws. Most tables were on task and many students expressed their interest in the event.

“I think the public forum is a very great place to input your ideas,” Angeline Liu (10) said, after engaging in a productive conversation with her sophomore class officers.

I will admit that part of the reason why this public forum seemed much more successful was because the ideas that the student body contributed were unique and to-the-point. Such ideas proposed included night rallies, which are rally performances held at night where students’ parents and the entire community can come watch, and an increase in frequency of fun Advisory events, such as the gingerbread and slime-making events hosted last year.

The public forum also served as an effective platform for bonding as people got to know each other better. I was glad to see upperclassmen informing underclassmen about high school events and making sure they felt at home in their new environment.

That being said, ASG’s public forum is not, in any means, perfect. I saw a lot of online publicity on various social media platforms but the turnout rate did not reflect the same efforts. However, ASG is planning on remedying that problem by getting teachers to talk about these events with their students. Overall, though, I think ASG did a great job this time around.