Raising Student Voices and Participation—RSVP—is a program created by the National Association of Student Councils in recent years to “empower students to identify issues in their schools and communities.”
“I found out about the program from a colleague in the California Association of Directors of Activities,” CHS activities director Leigh Cambra says. “She told me how the program has been widely picked up by most states in America, and I found it surprising to learn that California was not one of them.”
After conducting the necessary research, Cambra decided that RSVP could potentially be a program that might make a huge difference at CHS.
“At Carmel High, students often feel as though they don’t have a voice with leadership,” ASB president Lily Trytten explains. “ASB wants our student body to realize that we encourage and welcome student opinions. We want to know what they are unhappy with.”
The program traditionally consists of four student meetings coordinated and led by student council members, with each focused on a different goal. Problems are identified first, and then eventually action plans are created to improve these issues.
As a class, ASB went through the traditional RSVP program and took the most vital components, creating their own version of the program that began in September. To date, they have conducted two of the three meetings planned for the year.
After the first meeting, the class reviewed each list of issues and found the most popular subjects to be Wi-Fi, cafeteria and vending machines, trash on campus and activities for students in our community.
“We found that some of the issues did not even need action plans,” Cambra explains. “We took these issues straight to the administration, including asking for off-campus passes to be quarter-based and expressing the need for more trash cans. We hope to see these issues fixed quickly.”
Currently, the administration has not made these changes.
The ASB class has divided into four groups, and each group will focus on creating an action plan for the four main issues identified, which they will present in the coming weeks at the final meeting.
Student responses to the program have been varied, as many students struggle to understand what the end result will be.
“I think the program recognized the main problems in our school and gave reasonable solutions for them,” freshman Wesley Kise affirms. “We just need to think more about the final list, but overall it is a worthwhile program.”
Some students are more critical of the program, and don’t believe it will have much of an effect on CHS.
“I found it to be redundant, as many of the problems have been brought up before and nothing has been done about them,” senior Parker Levinson says. “However, the program is in nature a good idea, if the students are willing to act on the solutions.”
While the effects of RSVP on Carmel High are yet to be seen, both Cambra and Trytten have high hopes for the program.