Presidential Plans: An Inside Look with Ethan Anderson
We followed up with President Anderson and got the inside story on what he's working on right now.
A hearty congratulations to our new Student Council president Ethan Anderson, his vice president, Conor Newman, and the collection of newly elected class representatives. We hope you have a meaningful year in the government of our school. As part of our correspondence with the student council, Editor-in-Chief Joz Butler reached out to President Anderson to ask some introductory questions about his plans for the year and a little insight into his campaign process. The following text consists of excerpts from an interview conducted over Zoom.
What’s your name and pronouns?
My name is Ethan Harold Anderson! He/Him.
How did you find out that you had officially won? Can you describe the process?
The way Ms. O’Toole did it was that she had all of the candidates line up and she called us one by one into a room and it was literally like last man standing; it was brutal, I’ll be honest. Nobody was crying, thank god. I think the point was that she got some one on one time to make sure people weren’t crying, [which was good].
Were you doing any behind the scenes work to track your progress? Ie. voter counting, splitting the voter blocks, etc.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it in my head, who everyone was friends with, who people were most likely going to get votes from, but nothing official.
Did you think you were going to win?
Initially, I thought I would, I was confident going in. But then, maybe a half-hour after making the speech and submitting it, I was like “oh my god!” y’know? And, of course, you think, “wow, I really hope I win, but if I don’t, I wonder who will”. But life goes on basically.
Looking back at your speech and newspaper article answers, was there anything you would have done differently?
I don’t think so, I kind of like putting all my ideas out there, which, after hearing other people’s speeches about their broad ideas, I liked giving specific ideas that I plan on working towards. I think it’s important that people know the specific ideas that I have. But also I think that the article and the speech were a little bit too long. I was reading through other people’s [answers in the article] and I was going to read through mine again but I just saw how long it was, and even though it’s my own writing I was like “I don’t feel like reading that!”
In the spirit of presidential elections, what are your plans for your first 100 days?
First 100 days? Homecoming is the nearest obstacle that there is for me and some of the other people to tackle because it seems like we are trying to put together something for homecoming, which I’m excited about. But it’s a real question of what capacity that’s going to take place as. I talked to Coach Ian, a former president, about that a little bit just to see the ideas so far because he’s kind of in charge of that now. I definitely plan on keeping in touch with him and putting together something hopefully fun for everyone throughout the entire school, not just the Upper School. Also, I’d like to go for my ideas that affect the most people, like the dress code. The entire school might be a little ambitious but for the Italian Center, I personally don’t see why we shouldn’t be allowed to just wear dress down. I’ve talked to Luke Buttenweiser (former King president) about some of this stuff, I plan on doing something similar [to his approach as president]. I’m somewhat familiar with the logistics of this, since I was part of this weird dress code task force thing last year so I got to talk to Mr. Coulombe about the specific reasons for why we haven’t changed the dress code.
What’s your one big policy or event that you're planning to make happen?
First, definitely having a spring homecoming, with all of the festivities that come with the fall homecoming! At the time of writing my speech, I included that, but I didn’t realize we were still going for something in the fall. But that being said, I don’t think having a half fall homecoming should stop us from having a real spring homecoming if we can. That includes the pep rally and all those things that make homecoming people’s favorite event of the year. Also, taking advantage of the new turf, maybe renting out a projector, setting up a big sheet to go over a goalpost, and having an outdoor movie night! I know I would love that, and I think a lot of other people could get behind that too. And it's manageable!
A lot of your issues seem to revolve around in school issues: IC dress code, homecoming, outside sports; what do you plan to accomplish if we go virtual and aren't on campus?
One of the things we did last year was we tried to incorporate the point system for staying connected with the community. I think we could modify that because I know a lot of people either didn’t know about it or just, frankly, didn’t care. I think that it’s definitely a good idea to try to keep people as connected as possible, even if we’re not allowed in school.
Lightning round! (1 sentence, short as possible, describe your stance/ ideas for the issue)
Tackling racial bias in the community:
I want to try to come up with solutions to keep people’s interest in these topics and continue to keep conversations happening! I would love to learn more about things I can do to make it easier for the people around me.
Same as above! I would love to be there for everyone if they have any concerns, either as a president or just someone to talk to.
There will definitely be an announcement coming up at some point about the honor code and especially the importance of maintaining academic integrity even where you’re not on campus.
Student mental health
I want to make sure there are a lot of activities for people to do at school because not everyone can leave school halfway through the day, so you might be sitting there for a really long time. I want to incorporate cornhole or spikeball because we’ve had those things in the past and I think we should get them going again so that people can take a break.
Student Interaction with the government
I definitely want to stay in touch with the student council and the grade reps. I also have plans for a space where students can bring their ideas. I’d like to think I’m an approachable person and I’ve had a lot of people come straight to me with ideas already. I just want to make sure that people can feel like they can come to me with any ideas they may have, I’m here for them to help them in any way I can.
As we all know, the schedule this year is very different. While it’s not likely that we can change anything about the schedule, some classes like AP are being forced to condense a year’s worth of content into 14 weeks. Do you have any plans to offer support mentally or academically for students trying to keep up with these new timelines?
With APs in particular, I know I have a couple of APs right now where I won’t have class fourth quarter (the time leading up to the AP exam) which I know is stressing me out, and I imagine is stressing out other students as well. I think it’s super important to set up places where certain classes can meet and have study sessions for whichever APs they want, probably after school so the most number of people possible can be in that space. In regards to the schedule itself, I don’t think there’s anything I can do about that, sadly.
Do you plan to work with any of the other presidential candidates on trying to get their ideas done as well?
Oh, for sure! I’ve talked to Nico Camacho a little bit about his ideas already because, frankly, I thought he gave one of the best speeches. I definitely plan on working with the other candidates and their ideas because even if they didn’t get elected, that doesn’t mean that their ideas are any less worthy. And a lot of us had overlapping ideas so I think it would be really nice to see their perspective on those.
What are some groups that you plan on working with to accomplish your ideas? Any specific student correspondence? Teachers?
I definitely plan on talking to the affinity groups; I just want to work with them to see what I can do to help, or just to hear what’s going on. And for teachers, I love Mr. Coulombe, so I’ll probably be very in touch with him, as well as Luke Buttenweiser, who doesn’t go here anymore, but who I’ve been close with for a while. No one has more ideas than Luke, so if for some reason I’m running low on ideas, I definitely plan on talking to him.
What issue are you super excited about that you want to get to work on right away!
Homecoming! It’s my favorite event of the year, and I hate that it’s not going to be the normal football game. Nothing feels better than playing in front of a crowd at homecoming and being at an event with a ton of people there with you, cheering and supporting everyone. I can’t wait to put some kind of remnant of homecoming out there for everyone if that’s possible. If that’s in the fall or if it’s in the spring, I’m definitely planning on getting it to happen.