For STUCO prefect Chiara Mini, ensuring students remain connected and actively engaged has been a top priority in 2022. So with this focus firmly in mind, she and her fellow Year 12 prefects have been exercising their creativity, ingenuity and problem-solving skills to think outside the box and develop unique and dynamic events to entertain, amuse and captivate the student body.
Their aim was to encourage all year levels to interact with their peers, build new friendships and learn more about their classmates outside of regular school hours. And the highly-motivated group have achieved this target through numerous specially designed school-wide initiatives, with both virtual and on-campus activities.
Chiara shares her thoughts on the importance – and the enjoyment – of being part of the ACG community.
Chiara, can you explain how you have tailored STUCO events to ensure that students involved in online learning still feel connected with their peers?
We have planned COVID-safe events throughout the year so all students, whether attending online or offline, are able to feel part of the ACG community. This meant being extremely creative, and we all brought innovative ideas to the table that had never been done before. However, they turned out brilliantly. For example, we hosted a virtual movie night where the film was synchronised for everybody attending. We all turned on our webcams, and it felt like the movie nights we used to have at physical school.
What creative ways did you find to refresh previous activities or introduce new events?
Being in my fifth year at ACG School Jakarta, I was keen to see new ideas and progression in the events and activities the STUCO put together. Being restricted to online/hybrid learning gave us the opportunity to think laterally while still making sure that everyone could be involved. This approach sparked ideas for virtual initiatives like the talent show “ACG’S Got Talent,” a movie night in “HalloWeek”, our “Let’s Get Trivial” quiz night, and more.
Why is it so important that the STUCO organise these activities rather than the school faculty?
There are myriad reasons why students should run these events. We know what other students want, and it’s important that everyone enjoys their time here as well as pursuing their academics. We also bring a fresh perspective, and by taking ownership in this way, it shows that the school belongs to the students too. The students are the not only ones with ideas, though. More times than not, we have contacted Principal Hutchinson for approval and suggestions from a faculty point of view.
Please tell me a little about February’s Mental Health Awareness Week and what activities the STUCO implemented to support it?
We collectively agreed that mental health awareness is more critical now than ever before. So, we really wanted to make this event resonate. The activities included showing a video made by the STUCO on the importance of mental health, group meditation, using creative ways to cope and express mental health, and we had open discussions where students were not obliged to speak but encouraged. In addition, we explored how mental health is portrayed in the media we consume, showing an example from the Marvel cinematic universe’s character Iron Man and how he deals with PTSD and anxiety.
What are the most significant lessons you have learnt from helping to organise these events?
Being in a tight-knit team like the STUCO has taught me a lot of things, particularly about leadership. Plus, I’ve developed my communication and time management skills and learned to be much more self-reliant. And although I was reluctantly drafted into leading the STUCO design division (creating posters for events and content for our Instagram page), I fell in love with graphic design and discovered I was good at it. This taught me that sometimes things work out in your favour, even if they do not look that way at first.
Do you think these skills will be of benefit in the future?
Absolutely, especially the teamwork aspect. Being a leader in the STUCO is a lot of responsibility, and I've learnt to hold myself accountable, be flexible and think on my feet if things don't go to plan. I've received some very encouraging comments on my performance, and I'm glad that I'll take away a lot from this experience while also managing to teach others along the way (without realising I was doing so). The positive feedback makes the hard work all worth doing.