Mr Vennard’s room was packed full of people. Scissors sliced through construction paper, there were glitter pens galore: it looked like art class. It was actually an Asian Student Union meeting, and members were making Holiday cards for every teacher in the school.
ASU is one of many student unions in the school. There’s a Hispanic student union, Black student union, Christian student union, among others. These student unions are a great way for students of similar ethnic backgrounds to connect, and to educate others. “For any student union, I feel like it’s a good way for them all to come together around a certain cause,” said BSU president Cierra Jackson.
Another main goal of student unions is to be charitable within the community. Kush Kanthan of ASU stated, “we have a good amount of fundraisers.” He also states that the club throws a Lunar New Year party every year. Student Unions like to give back to the community; all the money from fundraisers goes to various charities at the end of the year. Mr Vennard, ASU’s sponsoring teacher explained: “At the end of the year, (they) look at all the money that they raised. And then they send checks out to a variety of Asian related charities.” It’s a great example of how student unions support their culture within the community.
These clubs are not only about bringing people of a certain culture together, but also sharing it with anyone. “It’s not really like an exclusively Asian club. I believe that everyone should be able to join. They can learn something new about Asian cultures… and help bring awareness to all these sorts of things,” Kush stated.
BSU is preparing for their Black History Month assembly they do every year in February. “That’s basically a way for us to showcase our culture and things like that,” Cierra explained. The assembly showcases singing, dancing, and some special guests to give speeches.
Of course, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, as you can be as involved as you want. Kush stated, “I wouldn’t say it’s a massive commitment. There’s definitely a commitment to go to all the fundraisers, especially on the weekends, but depending on how involved you are, it can be like a low commitment for someone just wanting to be casually in a club, or if someone wanted a leadership position, it could be pretty (difficult).”
Like any club, student unions have many important leadership roles to be fulfilled. Every club has a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Students take up all these rules, the teacher is more in the background. Kush explained, “When you have your friends running it or other students you feel as if they would like to hear you more and you can talk more openly as opposed to a teacher.” He also feels that because of this they are able to get much more done. Students can either make this club their main extracurricular focus, or just casually join to be part of something.
Student unions are more than meets the eye. They allow people to embrace their culture, and introduce new people to it. They help students in school and benefit the community. Even if you are not part of a student union you can support them by attending fundraisers and events the student unions host. At the end of the day, student unions are all about one thing: Unity.