More students should run for SEC to increase representation, broaden impact

Charlie Bush, Lifestyle Editor

On Sept. 6, the Student Executive Council (SEC) revealed the homecoming theme to the student body in a FlexTime/SELF assembly. The theme—“A Trip to Costco”—received large amounts of student backlash and response. However, it is unfair to be so critical toward the hard work and effort SEC puts into their decision-making each year. Indeed, to enact the change they wish to see, more people need to run for SEC in order to actually get their voices heard and to shift policy.

Of course, complaints about SEC can often be seen as contradictory: there are those who complain about the homecoming themes being the same every year and those who complain when the themes are different. We have to recognize the efforts made by SEC members to make the majority happy; when you are constantly being pulled in two opposite directions, you have to give way to both sides and make compromises in the best interest of the student body as a whole. By running for SEC, students can more effectively embody the changes they wish to see in school culture. While there is some degree of stigma surrounding running for a “popularity contest,” if there are improvements someone wants to see in the Gunn community, they can make them happen.

People often make excuses against running, however, and say that all of SEC is just a popularity contest. This is simply untrue. While some of the larger, more mainstream positions may be influenced by popularity, only 14 of the 30 positions on SEC are open to public vote. This means most of the positions are appointed. Applying for these positions involves presenting your case in front of a small group of class officers and other past members of SEC who weigh the choices carefully and talk through their decision. Moreover, many of the appointed positions are relatively open, as certain SEC roles receive fewer applicants than others. Because of this, applying for one of the lesser-known positions is an often-overlooked opportunity to make your voice heard.

Another issue students often complain about is the lack of diversity in SEC, saying that most of the members of SEC come from one homogenous social circle. While this may be true, this situation can be easily remedied: if anyone wants to see improvements in this area, they can run and bring greater representation.

Even just by voting, students can make their voices count. Last year, roughly 70 percent of Gunn students voted in the elections. The other 30 percent need to realize that their votes actually matter and can greatly impact the outcome of each election, completely changing who actually takes office. More people need to run for SEC and vote in elections in order to help diversify the representatives and officers.

All of the appointed positions are very specific to certain aspects of SEC and the student body: Secretary, Treasurer, Human Relations, Wellness, Site Council Representative, Special Events, Publicity, Visual Media and Diversity, half of which consist of two or three commissioners per role. This allows for a variety of people from different social groups to run and join SEC. If one of those topics interests you, you can make your case to the interviewers and advocate your position. If you think our money can be handled more efficiently, run for Treasurer; if you have a great idea for a school event, run for Special Events. Blaming others does not achieve anything; it’s wise to take advantage of the several opportunities given throughout the year to bring change to Gunn.

In SEC meetings, a lot of different topics are brought up and thoroughly discussed from all sides, weighing the pros and cons of every action and taking time to think all the decisions through. In the end, the outcome always comes down to a vote. Instead of complaining about the failures they see in SEC’s decisions, students should enact the change they desire. More people need to run for SEC to get a seat in the room and to vote for the opinion of the student body.