When one walks into the upperclassman locker bay, he may notice the four first place Hunger Drive banners. However, due to the nearly 10,000 pound decrease in collection this year, we will not be able to add another first place award to our wall. Pleasant Valley raised the most in the Quad Cities with 60,737 pounds and Bettendorf trailed behind with 52,017 pounds. Last year, Bettendorf raised 61,994 pounds.
In addition to our overall Hunger Drive loss, two events, Powderbuff and the MAC dodgeball tournament, were cancelled due to lack of sign ups. These events have brought in revenue for the Hunger Drive in the past and helped us get ahead in the competition for most pounds raised.
“I think student participation is lacking this year mainly because they do not think it is their responsibility to step up and get involved. I wouldn’t say the student population is lazy, they either have participated a lot in the past and thought that was enough, or they have never participated before and don’t see why they should now,” Katie Lent said.
Lent is a three year member of Student Council. This year, she went to every restaurant benefit for the Hunger Drive, paid to watch Powderpuff, organized the first Carpool Karaoke competition, solicited at HyVee, and went around neighborhoods collecting cans and donations.
“I think that there is definitely an attitude around the student body that they are “too cool” to participate in these events, which I’ve noticed has been much more prevalent this year, but the sheer amount of stuff we had going on contributed, as well,” Jordan Bayles said.
This year, some teachers used bribery to get their students to bring in cans. Diana Steiner awarded the class with the most can donations with homemade cookies. Student Council also announced a new competition based on James Corden’s celebrity carpool karaoke. The three teachers who collected the most cans in a week were featured in a YouTube video singing songs in the car and promoting the Panchero’s fundraiser.
“I gave cans to the Hunger Drive because Mrs. Wiley gave us incentives like writing formulas on the board during tests, but I do think students are getting bored with the same events. Not everyone wants to play dodgeball or has money to eat out,” Olivia Vincent said.
“I don’t know if the students find the events boring but they are definitely bored of hearing about them. The people that participate in the events have a lot of fun, but a lot of the student body just expects the events to happen and don’t realize that if they don’t sign up or get involved, those opportunities won’t always be there,” Lent said.
“I think it (the loss) was a wake-up call of sorts. Even on StuCo we were shocked to see PV and other schools making huge efforts in their Hunger Drives this year; it’s not something we’re used to. We won the Hunger Drive the past four years, it’s hard to not kind of expect to win again. Which, I think, is part of the reason we didn’t have as many signups,” Bayles said.
Ways of collecting donations, like canvassing or soliciting, are not made available to the student body besides student council. Although the Hunger Drive is a student council-run committee, this creates a small divide between the council and the rest of the student body. If students were more aware of this opportunity, we could raise the number of students asking for donations and raise the amount of donations we receive.
One concern is if the events to participate in the Hunger Drive are promoted to the student body.
“A lot of the advertising council does for the rest of the school is the same as it has always been. Announcements that students talk over, posters that students don’t read, and tweets that students scroll past. As frustrating as it is that our work is being overlooked, we are not providing much work that stands out, and we’ve been working harder to create things that are new and more exciting to grab more people’s attention,” Lent said.
Participating in school activities, whether it is donating to the Hunger Drive or simply standing in the student section during a football game, are beneficial to students in a variety of ways. Attending sporting and other school events encourage school spirit and pride. Spending time with other students and members of the community give students social skills they will need to succeed in the future.
“I’ve learned a lot of lessons in student council like time management, prioritization, and keeping myself accountable and those are all things that less involved students struggle with. Life won’t always be a cycle of waking up, going to school, going home, eating, doing homework, and sleeping, and I think filling your schedule with fun, beneficial activities like volunteering, a sport, or a club can help prepare you for that in a small way,” Lent said.
If you want to become more involved in school but don’t know what to do, start small. Go to a club meeting that sparks your interest. Club meetings are always in the morning announcements that are emailed to your school email.
If you enjoy watching from the sidelines more than being on the field or court, look into being a team manager or trainer. If you enjoy music or theatre, join choir, audition for a production, or go to set construction.
We are lucky to go to a large school with plenty of opportunities to get involved. It is your responsibility to care about your future and take the step to get involved.