Running for student government is really a thrill. Being on the student council looks great on your college applications, but it also gives you a chance to get involved with your school and your peers. In certain grades, the student council is responsible for helping plan the prom and, in later years, they will be the ones who plan reunions as well. You can rally for your fellow students, you get to help make decisions, and you're put in a position of leadership that will hold you in good stead the rest of your life. If you're thinking about running for student government, try a few of these strategies.
1. Choose Your Role
Before you put in your bid, you have to think about what role you'd like to fill on your student council. Your school may be set up differently, but generally the student council consists of a president, a vice president, a secretary, and a treasurer, while class representatives fill the duties for each grade. Some schools add positions to student government, such as a historian or a social director. These days, some even have social media representatives. While you might jump at the chance to be president, at a class or executive level, make sure you choose the role that fits you best. If you're great under pressure, know how to delegate, and have a sense of fairness, president's a great fit. If you're good with math, budgeting, and saving, try running for student government on the treasurer ticket.
2. Look into Problems at School
After you've chosen the role you'd like to fulfill, start scouting for some of the biggest problems in school. Here's the thing though: focus on the ones it would be within your scope to change, especially from the position you've chosen. This is important when it comes to your platform, so make sure you keep detailed notes.
3. Poll Your Peers
You can also poll your peers about the changes they would most like to see. Again, make sure they're within the scope of your duties; you're not going to be able to get Mondays canceled, you can't get lunch catered by Five Guys, and school will never start at 11:00am. However, you can work on things like getting healthier items in the cafeteria or sponsoring more special activities. This is also your chance to see how many of your peers would vote for you.
4. Go All out with Your Campaign
You have to campaign to get elected. Do not rely on your friends or your popularity alone to get you elected. Come up with a campaign platform of promise and changes you want to make, along with a catchy, memorable slogan. You can ask your friends to help you make posters, buttons, key chains, ads, and other promotional items to hang up and pass around school.
5. Know Your Opponent
As you get to know the issues that are important to you, learn about the issues that matter to your opponent as well. If you have more than one, learn a bit about each one. You need to be able to counter their offers so that you win over the student body.
6. Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep
Student government is all about politics, obviously. Aren't you tired of politicians who break all their promises, or only make them to get elected in the first place? Even though this might be the start of your political career, don't lie. Never make promises you know you can't keep, or have no intention of keeping. It's just bad business.
7. Polish Your Debate Skills
Debating is one of the best parts of running for student council. You don't necessarily have to join the debate club, but learn how to make your points clearly. You should be entertaining, engaging, and interesting, and it's not a bad idea to polish your public speaking skills either.
Although you don't have to plan for a career in politics by running for student government, it's a great place to start. It's just as beneficial for future teachers, stay at home parents, lawyers, managers – you get the idea. Trust me, at the very least, you'll appreciate the conflict resolution skills you learn. Were you a member of student government, or are you thinking of running?