Press Release: Forum’s Forum

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as the United States’ thirty-second president, he took the office in one of the worst crises the nation had ever experienced. The Great Depression had devastated the American economy and put around 25% of the national population out of work. Despite the daunting task ahead of him, FDR started working on his New Deal the day he stepped into office. In fact, in his first one hundred days as president, he was able to introduce many of the most famous New Deal bills and launch tens of government-funded jobs, aid, and reform programs.

Here, at The Blake School, Forum faces a significantly less daunting challenge. Forum is not faced with a mounting school debt or a widespread crisis, but in keeping true with FDR’s ideas about trying everything and acting swiftly, Forum is truly trying to make meaningful progress in these first few months. In ways never seen before, Forum is really going to become meaningful again and represent the voices of the school.  

Take my word – I am new to Forum. Coming into it for the first year this year, I was very skeptical. I mean, to be honest, what does Forum really do? That’s a great question, and I cannot tell you how often it has crossed my mind. Does Forum really try to do anything for the student body other than pad college résumés? This year, the answer is yes. More so than before, Forum is going to help change the school community for the better. Here’s why I’m convinced.

Forum is paying very close attention to the opinions of students this year and trying to keep students informed about the issues Forum is discussing. Part of the reason I am writing this article is so that students remain updated about what we are actually talking behind the doors of the NAR every Friday. Luckily, Spectrum‘s monthly paper will be only the beginning of our efforts to keep the students informed.  

For example, we have recently created the Forum twitter page. I think I speak for all Forum representatives when I say that I highly encourage students to tweet at the account with legitimate questions and concerns about the issues that matter to you all. We have also secured recent approval of student-only town hall style meetings. In the future, students will be able to just stop in to these meetings whenever they want (even if its just for 5 minutes) and discuss whatever concerns they want with a few Forum representatives. Details about these meetings and more are still to come, but they represent an exciting future for Forum. After all, Forum is here to represent you.

Now that I may have you at least a little interested in what Forum is doing to open communication, let me talk about what you really care about: what is Forum doing for you right now? Well, I’m pleased to say that this year the answer isn’t a mumbled “umm… let me get back to you on that.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Take clubs for example. Over the past few weeks, Forum has chartered 9 new clubs in just 5 meetings, and has added another 5 clubs to the Club Handbook. For students interested in anything from tea (yes, Forum just chartered 2 new tea clubs) to entrepreneurship and business (DECA Club) to charity work (CARE Club), I’m proud to say we now have something new for you.

Forum is also currently embarking on an initiative that you may or may not have heard about, but probably are familiar with in one way or another. This issue, of course, is the issue of departmental emails being sent to the whole school. A few weeks ago, my fellow representative Sam Gelb ’15 stood in the junior lounge for 30 minutes and received 125+ signatures on a petition asking for an opt-in and opt-out policy for these departmental emails. Do not worry. We have heard you loud and clear. We are currently in contact with faculty on this issue and we hope to have some exciting successes to report soon.

Lastly, it would be wrong for me to leave out the cocktail of other initiatives Forum is discussing right now. Plans are being finalized for a presentation to teachers about introducing a school-wide online grade book, overhauling the Civil Discourse program launched last year, and possibly considering the long term idea of the creation of a rooftop lounge/study area on top of the school. As details emerge, we hope to keep you in the loop.

In this article I said a lot about what we as a legislative body are doing to better your “Blake Experience.” I know I crammed in a lot of information and a lot of initiatives, but I think the significance of this article’s doesn’t lie in the specific clubs Forum just chartered or the specific ideas we are talking about. No, the significance lies in the fact that Forum is actually doing something for the students. The significance is that Forum had real progress to report in this update. Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “it is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” We are trying something this year. Now that you know we are back in business, all I can urge you to do is reach out, get involved, and help us push your ideas to the center stage.