On Thursday, May 18, Riverdale students and teachers gathered in the lunchroom to hear impassioned speeches from each of three partnerships running for leadership of the Student Faculty Council (SFC). The Riverdale community elected Alexander Karr and Jackson Harris as their SFC co-presidents for the 2017-2018 school year. The other candidates were Erin Cooper and Jordan Officer and Ernie Robertson and Tyler Friedsam. All three pairs gave strong speeches and seem to care deeply about making positive changes to the Riverdale experience.
Harris and Karr’s platform was based on creating an SFC that will be “reliable, accountable, and authentic” to the desires of Riverdale students, as Harris explained. Harris and Karr hoped to continue the existing SFC-run events that are most successful, while also adding many of their own initiatives. One event they hoped to create is an art show featuring Riverdale student art for students, faculty, and parents to view. Their agenda, however, is not centered around predetermined reforms; Harris and Karr hoped to source ideas from fellow students. To do this, they plan to create an app containing a forum to which students can post suggestions and ideas for positive change in the Riverdale community. Karr explained that the app will also contain a section which updates students on where the SFC’s money is going, posts the weekly agenda of SFC meetings, and provides a weekly update on planned future initiatives. In short, Harris said, “we want to keep the SFC accountable for what it promises to do.” Harris also noted that the SFC has “so much potential” and “could really get [involved] in all the small parts of student life.” One example he cited was the dance team: just before a big performance, members of the team could contact SFC leaders to receive help designing and putting up posters. In their words, Harris and Karr hoped to “usher in a new SFC.”
Photo credit Maya Shabtai/Riverdale Review
Our Newly Elected SFC Co-Presidents, Alexander Karr and Jackson Harris.
A seven-point plan for change frames Friedsam and Robertson’s platform, combined with a strong desire for dialogue between the SFC and the Riverdale community. Friedsam has three years of experience on the SFC, while Robertson has one, making them the only pair to both have experience serving. In Friedsam’s words, this allows them to “know what it takes to be efficient and carry out what the students want.” They decided to run because they wanted to give back to Riverdale; Friedsam noted that “between Robertson, myself, and each of our siblings, we’ve attended Riverdale for 82 years!” The specific changes they hope to make include increased school-wide events like athletic competitions and a summer birthday celebration; general food reform, consisting of higher quality and a greater variety of school food; a revamping of One World Day, increasing student input into the theme of the day; and more school spirit in support of competitions and performances. A key reason they believe they are fit for the position is that they are involved in such a wide variety of activities. Between the two of them, they have helped lead sports teams, the PAL program, and affinity groups. So, Robertson said, “we can dip into and connect with different spaces.” Friedsam affirmed that, if elected, he and Robertson will be timely and do their work ahead of time. “We are proactive, diligent, [and] we go out of our way to make sure things are done,” he said.
Photo credit Maya Shabtai/Riverdale Review.
Tyler Friedsam and Ernie Robertson
Officer and Cooper based their campaign on the desire to strengthen all parts of the Riverdale community and create increased support for students in all of their pursuits. Officer described the overall goal of their campaign as creating “policies….[to] improve community interaction.” To do this, they would like to make a “Student Events Board,” or online calendar of events occurring throughout the Riverdale community. This system would replace the current method for disseminating information, in which students hear about events and news through a disjointed combination of Facebook posts and emails. In addition, Cooper and Officer hoped to organize activities for students during free periods. To replace some of the wasted time during frees, there would be a free swim period, not only allowing students to have fun and exercise, but also provide practice for students who are certified lifeguards. Other activities would include working at the daycare center and playing sports with equipment borrowed from the PE department. These activities, Cooper and Officer explained, would be a good way for people to get to know each other, integrating different grades and friend groups. Officer and Cooper also want to hold a spring homecoming that would be different from the fall homecoming. In the spring, both arts and sports would be celebrated, highlighting their commitment to supporting and acknowledging students in all of their endeavors outside the classroom. With the change in the exam schedule, they also want to create a better end to the school year. There could include a birthday party for students with summer birthdays and an end-of-year barbeque. Both Officer and Cooper are affinity group leaders, and they believe their involvement in numerous sectors of the school makes them good candidates. As they explain, they are less “mainstream,” but still equally committed, candidates.
Photo credit Maya Shabtai/Riverdale Review.
Jordan Officer and Erin Cooper.
Riverdale students had the valuable opportunity to take part in the democratic process with the aim of affecting positive change at Riverdale.
The Riverdale community looks forward to numerous positive changes under the leadership of Alexander Karr and Jackson Harris.