New outreach commission plans Speak Up for Change ‘Stepping Forward’

December 1, 2021 — by Avani Kongetira and Atrey Desai
Outreach’s unofficial commission started publicizing their hallmark event in a Nov. 8 post. 
The week-long event, which will take place Jan. 24-28, will focus on the importance of student mental health.

After the outreach commission was cut due to low-interest last year, a new, unofficial commission has emerged to organize Speak Up for Change (SUFC), which will take place during the week of Jan. 24. The theme, “Stepping Forward,” aims to break the stigma of mental health issues.

The previous commission was scrapped at the end of the 2020 school year because of a decrease in the number of applicants.

“Most students interested in joining leadership were more interested in spirit than outreach activities so many times the commission was the last choice for aspiring leadership students,” senior ASB vice president Alexander Yang said.

ASB decided to create an unofficial commission to take on SUFC and Red Ribbon Week.

The commission is made up of representatives from all grades and ASB members in order to maximize outreach and participation. Current commissioners — seniors Catherine Kan and Yang, junior Allison Tan, sophomore Paul Hulme and freshman Ethan Yang — are undertaking unfamiliar duties, as well as responsibilities within their own class offices.

Thus far, commissioners have been working on gathering participants for SUFC and aim to have about six student and teacher speakers by January. 

Over the next few months, the commission will interview and select speakers, as well as decide on several logistics such as the event location and club activities.

Although SUFC is usually held in the large gym, COVID-19 restrictions may require the event to take place elsewhere. According to Tan, the commission is exploring the possibility of moving the assembly to the lower field, among other options.

Ultimately, the commission aims to help people feel heard, and encourage conversations surrounding this year’s topic of mental health.

“We really want to make sure people gain something from the event and [that we] provide a safe space for everyone sharing their stories about mental health,” Tan said.

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