The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

ISU Cabinet: Plans for Next School Year

Left to right: ISU presidents Joost Almekinders and Bianca Pattison. The new cabinet also includes secretary Elena Valente, treasurer Emilio Pineda and spirit coordinators Kiri Diaz-Asper and Madeline Robbins. (Isabella Duchovny & Elektra Gea-Sereti/International Dateline)

As students walked up the stairs from the gym where the recent International Student Union (ISU) elections had been held, they frantically whispered, “Who are you going to vote for?” and “This is who I picked.”

The 2022 ISU cabinet election took place during an assembly on Thursday, April 21 in the gym. The voting form opened right after assembly at 12:40 p.m., and the winners were announced that same day at 4 p.m.

ISU representatives all have very important roles in student life life, including funding clubs, organizing school dances and proposing school policies, according to the ISU Constitution.

The president’s job is to overlook and organize the problems that students are directly facing at WIS and find solutions for them with the help of the other ISU cabinet members.

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Bianca Pattison and Joost Almekinders were elected as co-presidents and are both currently juniors. They ran as a team because they are very good friends and communicate well. They have a unique perspective because of Almekinders’ previous ISU role as grade representative and Pattison’s perspective as a student that has not been a part of ISU before. They want to be as transparent as possible and would do this by using suggestions from grade representatives.

“Throughout our time at WIS, we have built an outreach around WIS through various outlets,” Pattison said. “[For example], the arts and sports. I think having an understanding of what those areas need and what those areas are lacking is important.”

They have many ideas for next year, such as a monthly newsletter that would include a breakdown of ISU’s budget and notes from ISU meetings. They chose to do this because, in the past, there hasn’t been communication when it comes to the budgets, leading to confusion.

Almekinders also said that he wants to unblock YouTube for students so that they can find the information that they need for certain classes.

Pattison and Almekinders both emphasized approachability and that if anyone has an issue, they should feel free to talk to them.

Left to right: Spirit coordinators Kiri Diaz-Asper and Madeline Robbins, secretary Elena Valente and treasurer Emilio Pineda. (Isabella Duchovny & Elektra Gea-Sereti/International Dateline)

The secretary’s job is to organize ISU meetings and ensure that the purpose of each meeting is met. Junior Elena Valente, the new secretary, promises to do this. Her plans for next year are to clearly communicate with the student body easily and apply students’ suggestions to ISU. “I really value everyone’s opinion, and I believe that the secretary holds a certain responsibility to facilitate communication between ISU and the student body,” Valente said.

She noted that there has been a divide between the student body and ISU. “I will definitely listen to everyone’s ideas, either an [ISU member] or not because I believe that the most valuable input comes from the students who have never stepped a foot into an ISU meeting,” Valente said.

Valente is prepared to take on the challenge of her new role. In regards to communication between ISU and the student body, Valente wants to use the WIS ISU Instagram account more often to share dates of ISU meetings and polls about which issues to bring up. During meetings, she plans to take notes and keep track of all the issues to be shared with the student body. She emphasizes that suggestions and complaints are encouraged and gladly received.

The Treasurer has to keep track of ISU’s budget and use it responsibly for different school activities. Sophomore Emilio Pineda was elected Treasurer and explained he was interested in this position because he enjoys math and is very organized.

Like many ISU cabinet members, Pineda’s plan for next year is to be completely transparent with the student body. His first idea is creating a report of ISU’s finances so that communication for funding is easy and runs smoothly.

He also believes he can add a new perspective to this role since he’s participated in student politics and cabinets before at his former school. “I’m very excited to see what representing this student body is like,” Pineda said.

The Spirit Coordinators’ job is to plan fun school-spirited activities and to make sure that the student population is informed about them. Juniors Madeline Robbins and Kiri Diaz-Asper won this position and have been close friends for a while. Diaz-Asper is on the soccer team and has ideas on how to represent both the boys’ and girls’ sports teams equally, while Robbins is interested in theatre and has plans to find solutions for low student turnout.

In addition to being organized and driven, they will make sure to be productive in finding solutions. “[Robbins] and I are both very opinionated people, in a good way, of course. [We] are very creative and dedicated,” Diaz-Asper said.

In addition to hearing the perspectives of those who won these cabinet roles, it is also important to take into account the perspectives of those who lost. 

Freshmen Andrea Brudniak and Margot Stavropoulos ran together for spirit coordinators because of their strong bond. They thought that they were more than suitable for the position, especially since they have a lot of WIS school spirit. However, they predicted that the winners would be upperclassmen. 

Sophomore Antonio Giorgianni ran for secretary. Giorgianni has been a grade representative since freshman year and has loved being a part of ISU. In the future, he wants to run for the president’s position.

Giorgianni believes that the reason he lost was that his opponent had seniority over him, both in age and knowledge. “At the end of the day, ISU elections are more of a popularity contest than anything,” he said.

What Giorgianni means by this is that if the voter is friends with the person running or it is someone well known throughout the school, this influences their decision on who to vote for. People make up their minds before hearing speeches, or they just automatically pick the name they know rather than thinking through who is most suitable for the job. He does not think this will change in the future.

“I don’t think it’s unfair because that’s just how it is,” Giorgianni said. “Something unfair is usually directed towards a certain person.”

By Rebecca Matuschek

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