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Student government facelift remodels agenda

By Daphne Thompson
posted April 18, 2011

With the hope of voicing their political expectations, students flocked to the old gym to cast their ballots for next year’s student government representatives. Armed with their identifications, students voted to replace the graduating student government seniors and selected class senators for next year. The election, which had one of the highest voter turnouts in school history, took place from April 4-6 and echoed the democratic process of the coinciding state vote.

“It’s important to give the students a voice, and it’s kind of fun, because in three or four years once you get out of high school, this is going to be real life,” said senior and former vice president Connor Schroeder.

Junior Logan Fassbinder, who ran unopposed, replaced senior Mollie Merrill as president. A longtime student government participant, Fassbinder was instrumental in the recent passage of the cell phone and electronic devices policy. According to Fassbinder, the campaign was a natural step forward in his political career.

“I just felt like I had a lot of good ideas that I could add to student government. I’ve been in it for a while, and I feel like I’ve worked hard in it,” he said. “I feel like I can be an accurate voice for the student body.”

The Fassbinder-led student government hopes to boost participation by gaining more control over school events that had formerly been run by student government in the past.

“What we want to do is get more involvement in student government this year, and we specifically hope to do that by trying to revive Morp and taking homecoming back, letting student government run that again,” said Fassbinder. “Policy-wise, we’re going to try and continue with the open hours committee, which is going to work to get open hours for seniors.”

Sophomore Nate Merrill, brother of graduating senior president Mollie Merrill, defeated junior Alexa Trembly and sophomore Joe Sobralski for the vice president position. Merrill, who replaced Schroeder, aims to close the gap between administration and the student body.

“I wanted to become more involved and thought vice president would be a good opportunity,” he said. “I just want to reconcile the bridge between student and staff communication, so the students enjoy being at school more.”

Junior Emily Pyle was elected student government secretary, replacing senior Natalie Graceffa. Pyle, who also ran unopposed, is ready to fight student apathy.

“I hope that I can influence other students to participate more in events that student government can put on,” she said. “Hopefully through better organization of those events, students will be more aware of what is going on.”

In the highly advertised race for public relations officer, junior Lance Yoder emerged victorious to replacegraduating senior Samantha Duehring. Beating junior Jordan Schettle and sophomore Casey Nelson, Yoder hopes to bring some cheer and entertainment to the morning announcements.

“I just wanted to do something good for the school and make people feel good in the mornings,” said Yoder. “It’s crazy how many people are just sitting there talking. I’d like people to actually listen and be able to hear what’s going on so people get more active in events after school.”

Underclassmen with political aspirations were also represented in the elections, with each class given separate ballots to select their senators for next year. Freshman Macy Koch, an elected sophomore senator, encourages all students to get involved in the democratic process.

“That way, the students can have an opinion about things that are going in the school,” said Koch. “It’s the students that make the school great.”

Participants in student government praise the organization’s ability to act as a megaphone, projecting little-heard student voices to the administrators.

“A lot of the time you’re in the hallway and you hear all of the things that students want to be done, but there’s really not an avenue to get that done,” said Trembly, an elected senior senator. “I like to be part of that process, so that we can make student involvement easier at West.”

The newly elected government will be responsible for offering input to policy-makers on topics directly affecting the student body in the upcoming year.

“Student government is very important because it listens to student opinions in food and electronics and it keeps the school updated on what’s going on,” said government participant and sophomore Courtney Bloom.

With new blood running through the veins of student government, the elected representatives share a positive attitude towards West’s future.

In the words of Yoder, “You stay groovy, Oshkosh West.”

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Three students cast their vote in the 2011 Student Government elections, as officers work the voting station on April 4.

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