Andrew Yu's Student Government Proposals

Hey there! The following are my proposals for the school. I did say ``Student Government Proposals'' in the headings and title, though these suggestions are not specific to Student Government. For example, it would be nice for the school administration to take care of some of these.

All images presented in <img /> tags on this page are, to the extend that I could identify, public domain. In case you identify an image as copyrighted, please contact me. Please also contact me with any suggestions or comments you have.

Jump to: Drinking Water Fountains; Clearer Policies; Relaxed Email Rules; Suggestions from Others; Free Software.

Drinking Water Fountains

In addition to or in replacement for parts of the current drinking water bottle refill system, I propose adding drinking water fountains. As presented in Figure 1, a drinking water fountain allows its user to push a button (or otherwise trigger the fountain's water flow) for direct drinking or refilling a water bottle.

Water fountains are superior to the existing bottle-filler system because in occasions where it is inconvenient to carry and/or use a water bottle (such as not wanting to carry extra stuff while doing sports), it allows for a quick sip of water. Water fountains, as mentioned above, can also fill water bottles, though they are slightly less good at doing so compared with traditional refill systems (which I thus propose should be kept to some extent).

A Drinking Water Fountain
Figure 1: A Drinking Water Fountain

Clearer Policies

I may not have full information on this as I am a new student. However, to me it seems that the school doesn't have official definitions of what constitutes violations of policy, what results in detentions and/or other punishments (if that's the right word) and a general process for resolving disputed cases.

While I understand that this is a school and not a country that needs a rigorous legal system, the uncertainty involved is somewhat unsettling. As far as I know we generally solve disputes in terms of ``common sense'' and variations and interpretations of our School Values (Compassion, Integrity and Balance) and links to various documents scattered everywhere. It will be of huge benefit to both students in understanding what is allowed and what is prohibited and to teachers and other staff when handling disputes.

This is definitely not an easy proposal (though the good thing is, unlike the previous proposal, there's no money involved for installing extra hardware)—writing rigorous legal documents (or documents of similar nature) is hard. I will, regardless of the results of the election this year, actively help in asking school officials and other faculty and staff about current regulations, integrate them into a hopefully comprehensive document, and review and revise them with members of the Student Government, faculty and staff, and the student body.

To give you an example of how fragmented information is at the moment: We have so many seperate policies, and for the most part they don't link to each other. There isn't a central document that tells us ``alright, the documents linked below are all the policies''. Considering the ``legality'' of any behavior nearly always involves ``Is there something I missed again?''. In fact, none of these documents are, from the perspective of a new Y9 student, published somewhere obvious enough for us to know they exist and to follow them. We have the following:

Then imagine a world where their priorities, presence and interactions are crystal clear. Not only can students follow them easier, faculty can also have an easier time dealing with situations as there's a clear policy to refer to.

(The policies may refer to house-specific guidelines as different houses may have different situations and thus shall not be treated indifferently. That's definitely better than having no mention of these and leaving everyone to figure that out themselves.)

I'm working on a revised version of the Student Government Constitution, but this is obviously not enough—I hope to cover all policies and regulations, not only these directly related to Student Government itself and the elections thereof.

Relaxed Student Email Rules

I (partially) understand the school's concerns like abuse of student emails and students getting scammed. However, it may be plausible to list the costs and benefits of restricting outside email.

Problems with the email restrictions: (1) Students cannot send or carbon-copy messages to their parents or other people for school-related messages. If we're doing something important, like in my case when I wanted to change a subject for my studies in Y9 and Y10, I had to send an email to Mr. Ogram and Mr. Funnel with my school email, and being unable to carbon-copy it to my parents, I had to forward that to my parents with my personal email. While this might not look like a big deal it is pretty annoying and isn't how email is intended to be used. (2) Especially in outside-of-just-academics activities like CCAs and clubs, in many times there would be people from outside our school involved. (The simple solution of ``hey just join our school'' doesn't work.) In many cases using our school email is better than using our personal emails for the matter because it's inherently a school-club-related thing. Again, not too big of a deal, but would be nice to be able to do so.

I do believe that students should not use their school emails for signing up to online services.

I'm not really sure about this one, I don't very strongly feel the need for change, though it'd be nice to have if we address other concerns like spam, abuse, etc.

Replace Fluorescent Lights with LEDs

Most classrooms and the hallways seem to use fluorescent lighting. LEDs are generally believed to be more efficient at converting electricity to light than fluorescent tubes as no fluorescent coating is needed to convert UV into visible light and minimal heat is emitted, giving LEDs overall better efficiency. This is quite an investment but will save electric bills over time and provides us with a more pleasant lighting environment.

Other People's Proposals

These are other people's proposals I see (and some comments):

This is not a comprehensive or official list and shall not be treated as such.

Free Software

I also have some proposals regarding the use of proprietary software at school. While I don't agree with all that GNU Education says, their point generally makes sense to me. Free software in education is a long story that I have strong feelings about and will take me a long time to write about. I'll focus on the other things on this page for now.