Shaan Shah: Putting the S in StuCo
“My campaign is based on the resilience of the students throughout COVID-19. I want to work on bringing the spirit back to our school, while also working on communication within the school.”
Background: Moving from country to country can be difficult for some students, but for Shaan, it has become a defining part of his identity. An Embassy kid, Shaan has moved from Malaysia to Thailand to South Korea to Japan to the U.S., gaining exposure to a diverse array of cultures and people. “With this constant movement, the ability to approach people and make new connections has become a skill that I have acquired,” Shaan says, adding that the ability to communicate and listen to others is “necessary” in fulfilling the role of Student Council President. “By moving and experiencing many different cultures, I have developed an understanding that everyone is unique and that many different people have different needs. I also have learned that you will not be able to meet everyone’s needs, and working towards a solution that can benefit everyone is essential,” Shaan reflects.
Last year, Shaan ran for Student Council for the first time with hopes of helping bolster school spirit amongst the Class of ‘24 and helping improve several minor facets of student life, recognizing that such improvements, when accumulated, can lead to a substantial and positive impact on the high school experience. His decision to run for the position of President this year is motivated by his drive to reform crucial areas that demand improvement within the school and to effectively integrate student voices in those changes and decisions. “With my outgoing personality and relentless drive to get things done, I expect to be able to work with the student body and accomplish a lot,” Shaan says.
Platform: In Shaan’s eyes, ASIJ currently faces a multitude of issues he is ready to fix; in particular, the lack of school spirit and the need for greater support of student-led initiatives and clubs. “The lack of spirit has been noticeable during my time in high school,” Shaan notes, recognizing the impact of COVID-19 in derailing many of the school’s events and activities. As President, he hopes to increase communication and foster a greater sense of energy and enthusiasm around these activities. “As we are moving away from COVID, I want students to come watch our athletes in their sports games, watch the musicals, and attend the amazing TEDx talks as students spend hours on these activities,” Shaan says.
Another issue central to Shaan’s campaign platform concerns StuCo’s role in supporting student-led clubs and initiatives. In his perspective, augmenting StuCo support of groups such as Enough is Enough and other student clubs tackling major issues could be a substantial benefit to these groups in terms of event planning and facilitation. Furthermore, Shaan believes that addressing seemingly trivial issues like line-cutting and the accumulation of litter around the school can have a meaningful impact on the quality of life for the student body.
Key Issues: A significant concern Shaan believes deserves attention is the lack of gratitude exhibited by many students at ASIJ. He believes that it is imperative to recognize the diligent efforts put forth by various members of the school community, from the teachers to the custodial staff and bus drivers who tirelessly strive to create a fulfilling experience for the student body. “We have worked on a few projects this year, but I want to extend these projects to include more of the student body and make them more frequent,” Shaan notes.
Additionally, the aftermath of the pandemic has led to the development of several key problems, with the foremost concern being a lackluster school spirit. Shaan believes it crucial to establish a new culture at ASIJ that is characterized by mutual support among students, and where the idea of expressing spirit is not a “cringy thing.” Finally, given the prevalence of certain issues at ASIJ that many people avoid discussing, Shaan wishes to utilize the position of the presidency to project and highlight student-led initiatives that serve to spotlight these problems and help foster dialogue among students.
Listen to What’s the Dealio’s exclusive interview with Shaan to gain additional insight into his background, experiences, and platform.