Advocating for Your Program
Student council advisers wear many hats—educator, mentor, adviser, family member, role model, and more. In these tough times, one hat you must remember to put on now and then is advocate for your program. To maintain support in your school and community for your council’s activities, it’s important to keep those who might be in a position of influence informed so they will provide opportunity, resources, and support. As you work with your student leaders, don’t forget to include action items to ensure that others know about your program and all the ways your students benefit from participation in it. Try some of the following ideas.
A Dozen Ways to Promote Your Program
- Be sure that all publicity for events and programs your organization sponsors clearly identifies that student council is responsible for the event. Too often events just seem to “happen” at school and no one really knows who put the work in to make them happen.
- Create a social media account that anyone in the school community can follow and keep it current with information about the great programs your council has going on.
- Ask for a few minutes at a faculty meeting to give a quick slideshow with photos from council events. Highlight the ways your activities support school goals.
- Seek leadership positions for your organization’s officers or yourself on site-based councils or school committees.
- Create a bulletin board or display case in the school with photos from your events with information about how students can get involved.
- Create a video or audio commercial with the top 10 things your council has done to benefit the school; play it on the school’s announcements.
- Talk to a member of the school’s newspaper, radio, or television staff and ask them to do a feature on the work of the student council.
- Invite principals, the superintendent, and school board members to attend your events and let them see students engaged in meaningful activities.
- Write newspaper articles and send media releases to the local papers or online sites highlighting your program.
- Organize an informal pizza party with school board members hosted by student council before a school board meeting. Show a quick slideshow highlighting your activities throughout the year and thank the school board for its support.
- Demonstrate the reach of your program by gathering data on the number of students who participate in your events, activities, and programs and publishing that information.
- Honor key local school officials who support your program by recognizing them with a certificate or plaque.
Connect to the Curriculum
One way to promote the value of your activities is to connect to the curriculum. During the planning stages of major activities, discuss with faculty members ways the upcoming activity can be incorporated into academic subjects. For example, a canned food drive can be integrated into curriculum in these ways:
- Language arts students could read books or articles about the homeless.
- Health classes or family and consumer science classes could review nutrition information and the effect on the body of undernourishment.
- Social studies classes could invite local government representatives to discuss relevant issues regarding hunger in the community. Students could research which local, state, and federal offices provide assistance.
- Math classes could help keep the tally of canned good collected and determine percentages of students participating, average number of cans per student, quantities of food from each food group, etc.
- World cultures class students could stage a simulation in the cafeteria with only a percentage of students receiving a full lunch, this percentage representing the number of people in the world who are adequately fed each day.
- Journalism students could write human-interest stories for the school newspaper that profile the agency being helped.
- Business students could visit the food pantry or organization to which the food is being donated to talk with staff members to find out the business side of keeping the agency going.
- Speech or drama classes could produce creative announcements encouraging participation in the food drive.
- Graphic design, marketing, or art classes could design fliers and posters to promote participation in the drive. Or design and produce a sticker to give each person who contributes to the drive—something like the “I voted” stickers poll workers give out.