Over the course of online school, student council and teachers at the Upper and Middle Schools have done their best to accommodate and improve upon the situation with online school. So, there are several new activities and programs that were created in 2020 to give students a voice, but also a break from the craziness of online school, including two new online websites, The Quad and HW Bulb.
“The Quad was created with the intention of uniting communities through organized events,” said 10th-grade prefect Aariz Furniturewala ‘23.
Furniturewala was the developer and creator of the two platforms which were originally made for the upper school, but after seeing positive feedback from the high-school students, Furniturewala worked with 9th-grade senator Davis Marks ‘24 to bring it to the middle school.
The Quad is a student council run website that allows faculty, students, and club leaders to create their own events using the “Post your own activity feature.” Here, the organizer can advertise their event and make a post about it, which includes the title of the event, hostname, contact information, a description and time of the event, and an optional link space. You can really post anything you want, from a bake sale to a club meeting to a singing group meet-up.
After creating your post, it can be found on the website where browsing students can find the event and sign up for it if they are interested in the “Upcoming activities” page. There is also a calendar feature that shows the activities in a calendar format.
“When we went into quarantine, there was sort of a lack of events and things for students to do,” said Marks. So the Quad was created with the intention of solving this issue.
“HW Bulb gives the student body a voice,” said Furniturewala.
He explains how there was no transparency between the student body and the student council as far as planning goes. HW Bulb was meant to be an easy way for students to communicate their ideas with the student council, no matter how ridiculous the idea may seem.
“With Bulb, you really have the opportunity to post anything,” Marks stated.
The website is fairly simple to use. Anyone with an HW email account can log in and create an idea. The idea must include a title and description, as well as an optional topic section. You can choose to stay anonymous and once you post your idea it goes into the system. People browsing HW Bulb might see your post under the “New” section, and if they think your idea would be a good addition to the school, they can like it. The posts with the most likes are seen by the HW Bulb team and thoroughly considered.
The website also features a “For You” page, which bases the posts you see on the ones you have already liked. There is also an “Old” page for older ideas, a “Top” page for the ideas with the most likes, and a “Quiet” page for the ideas with the least amount of likes.
There are all sorts of ideas on the website, many of which surround accessible grades, less homework, revised flex days, revised schedules and even having scooters to ride to Wang Hall.
“Immediately, within the first day, 600 people had logged on. So we pitched it to the middle school, about 800, 75% had, basically, on the first day, signed up,” said Furniturewala, who is mostly happy with the way both programs are being used.
Not all users have taken the website seriously, however, using the platform to suggest ideas that the student council would not have the power to implement.
“People were submitting a lot of junk and almost nonsensical blabber that they thought was either funny or sometimes it was kind of silly. For example, no school on Fridays. You know, it was a tough decision for me to make, do we, the admins, the student council, accept that idea? If we accept it, it decreases the credibility of the legitimacy of Bulb. But if we don’t, there’s an argument of a sense of free speech, censorship, are you censoring student ideas based on your biases? And these were the questions that were coming up,” said Furniturewala, “What we found is that we basically aired on the side of allowing free speech and not censoring ideas. And that was a mistake.”