Indian Springs School students and faculty voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to revise the school’s Constitution to mandate that elected student Commissioners of Protection take on the additional role of promoting environmental protection, most notably by leading campus recycling efforts.
As outlined in the official document, duties for the position historically have comprised “enforcement of the standards of the school community,” including reporting attendance at mandatory meetings. While campus-wide recycling has existed since 2003, the effort was organized by faculty members until student Commissioners of Protection began stepping up to take responsibility.
Current co-Commissioners of Protection Isaac Zhou ‘19 and Hyo In Park ‘19 proposed that the practice become a requirement of the position to ensure that recycling continues to be supported by students.
Following the procedure detailed in Article IX of the Indian Springs School Constitution, Park and Zhou presented their proposed amendment separately to the Student Government and faculty. After both of those groups voted to approve, a special Town Meeting was called by current Mayor Nathan Fisher ‘18 for the student body to vote.
Zhou told students and faculty, “Those in this office have been doing environmental work for years now, but we often forget that it is part of their job. In fact, every Commissioner of Protection has had a choice, including us, though they all invariably chose to protect the environment. If this amendment passes, future commissioners will no longer have a choice, but an obligation. I strongly urge you to vote in favor of it.”
By show of hands, the student body voted to approve the amendment, effective immediately.
"We were all impressed with the way Isaac and Hyo In modeled successful student governance, and also impressed that their efforts went toward ensuring student attention to the environment now and in the future,” says Head of School Dr. Sharon Howell. “It's hard to imagine a better way to fulfill our mission to teach participatory citizenship."
“Isaac and Hyo In saw something that needed to be fixed in the Constitution and decided to do something about it," says Fisher. "Honestly, I can't ask for much more than that out of the members of Student Government. It brings me joy to know that the student body cares about something as important as the environment. I hope this inspires more students to take action if they see something that they believe can be improved on our campus or in our lives at Springs.”