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: Understanding Your Student Government


With the recent International Student Union (ISU) elections, you are probably wondering what you voted for. Your new presidents, Torin O’Brien and Jakobi Haskell will lead next year’s ISU, our schools’ student government which includes students from all high school grades. The ISU is dedicated to raising school spirit, organizing school events—such as the pep rally or dances—and creating a voice for the student body.

From a student perspective, ISU plays an important role in the school community.

“I think ISU is a cohort of students that work together to create a better school community and environment. They make improvements to already existing ideas and maybe even come up with new ideas for the better of the students,” sophomore Vanessa Schor said.

ISU’s weekly open meetings are in the Dacha or Mansion and students are encouraged to attend. In addition, the meeting notes are available to the students. In the previous years, the notes were sent out by email, but with the new presidency O’brien and Haskell are looking to make the notes more easily accessible. At the meetings, they discuss issues within the school community and how they can be resolved.  

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ISU consists of the co-presidents, co-spirit coordinators, secretary, treasurer and three  representatives from each grade.

ISU is led by two co-presidents either from the 11th or 12th grade. This years co-presidents were Marianna Ioannou and Lulu Moore, both seniors who have had previous experiences in ISU. The co-presidents run together and are selected based on their leadership skills and ideas for the coming school year through a school-wide vote.

Based on the ISU’s constitution, the presidents are “the leaders of ISU. They are in charge of communicating and negotiating with the administration, The presidents organize, plan and run weekly ISU meetings.”

When voting for the presidents, the students have a certain type of people in mind that they’re looking for.

I think people look for eloquent and organized presidents, who can crack a joke but also fight for the initiatives the students care about,” Moore, this year’s co-president, said.

Students have asked questions regarding the ISU budget in the past years. The treasurer is in charge of managing the financial responsibilities for both ISU and WIS clubs.

This year’s treasurer, Jakobi Haskell, took his job seriously to ensure the ISU budget was being spent wisely on things the students wanted and needed.

As treasurer I managed the budget of ISU. I decided which clubs deserved funding if they had an idea they wanted to implement or something they wanted to buy. I organized everything for that to happen. For example, Badminton club wanted nets to practice and I made sure that got done,” Haskell said.

Regarding the transparency of ISU, the secretary plays a big role in the communication between ISU and the student body. According to the constitution “the secretary is in charge of recording ISU meetings, attendance and maintaining records.”

Even though the secretary’s job description includes serving as direct link between the students and ISU, there is still a lack of communication between the student body and our government.

“ISU has been criticized for lack of transparency for years. I’ve always been an advocate for having more ISU announcements in assemblies, but a lot of time there is a lack of time for these run-downs. It’s been a constant problem, ” said former ISU president Moore.  

Along with the criticism of the government’s transparency, the spirit coordinator has also felt the heat. Over the past years, the student body pushed the spirit coordinator to support sports and art events equally, as they have fallen short of doing so. As said in the title, the spirit coordinator is responsible for raising all school spirit.

This year’s spirit coordinator, Mario Vega, created a large presence on the school’s campus, through his emails and support for student events. But recently there was a change to the constitution, put forward by Fabrice Gray, previous spirit coordinator and grade representative. Our school will now have two spirit coordinators to make it easier to support all student events.

The easiest way to present your issues to ISU are through your grade representatives. With the upcoming grade representative elections on Friday May 10, here’s what you should look for when voting.

There are three grade representatives per class who are in charge of listening to your ideas, recommendations, complaints, and bringing them to meetings for further discussion.

Grade reps take on initiatives of the students in the grade and present them to the rest of ISU, so that real action can be taken. They serve as the voice of the students, so whatever input they have can be put into effect for the future,” Patrick Anders, grade 10 representative, said.

This year, at the request of students, ISU addressed having open grade books. Members of ISU attended many meetings with the administration to discuss the possibility of having open grade books. As a result, the administration settled on having the teachers update the grade books monthly and allow the students to ask to see their grades. Although the grade books are not completely open, this year’s ISU started a conversation.

ISU is judged for not having an impact on the community, but there is a lot that happens out of public eye that the student body doesn’t see.

“ISU’s biggest impact is caring enough about the students to start conversations for their peers even though they might not get the recognition,” Moore said.

This year’s ISU, with help from outside students, brought the discussion of open grade books to the administration along with getting new chairs in the Mansion for next year. They also started the initiative of having tampons stocked in the girls bathrooms. However, they received criticism for the lack consistency. Nonetheless, it started a plan for the following ISU’s to continue.

Overall, ISU is comprised of students who want to make a difference and care about the well being of the student body.

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