Staff editorial: Move-ember not the best initiative to reduce student stress

November 28, 2017 — by Victor Liu

Reporter shares his opinion on the pitfalls of Move-ember. 

In the midst of college application season and the anticipation of finals, student stress may be at a peak at this time of year.

Saratoga High’s solution? Spend thousands of dollars on a bouncy house.

Move-ember is a well-intentioned but misguided attempt at diminishing student stress. Both last year and this year, the school has decided to dedicate several lunches and tutorials to providing activities for students to exercise and destress. These optional activities are useful for students who may want to take a break from school with dancing, fun games and sports.

However, the problem arises when students feel forced to engage in de-stressing activities that they do not care for. While the Turkey Trot on Nov. 20 was a well-intended gesture — with staff offering free pizza to students in exchange for laps around the track — there was no reason to make the lunch a closed campus.

Many students simply aren’t interested in participating in these school activities, and attempting to coerce students into school spirit is counterproductive.

The evidence is clear. Hundreds of students chose to eat cafeteria food or to simply forgo lunch rather than participate in the Turkey Trot. If anything, going off campus and getting a nice lunch is often the only break some stressed out upperclassmen get during a school day, so these closed campuses may only worsen student stress.

A similar problem arose during the Bouncy Castle Day on Nov. 21, when the school moved tutorial after third period to join it with closed campus lunch so students could have more time to play on bouncy castles and obstacle courses. Moving tutorial and closing the campus in the name of eliminating student stress makes little sense.

The most stressed students are the ones who need tutorial to finish their homework, talk to teachers or study for tests. While these students may have had a longer lunch/tutorial to study or complete their work, they lost out on the opportunity to do work for their third-period classes.

Even worse, no free food options were made available that day, leaving hundreds of students with no option but to remember to bring their lunch, cram into the cafeteria and hope to get food or go to class hungry.

The other problem with Move-ember is trying to fix a student issue with no apparent student input. Year after year, the school spends thousands of dollars and dozens of hours on supposedly stress-relieving activities that arguably have less of an effect on stress than a regular tutorial.

Why haven’t students been asked about effective stress relief? If students could choose their stress-relief activities, perhaps voluntary participation in these events would actually increase and student stress may actually go down.

At the very least, ASB should have a greater voice in determining what stress-relieving activities are provided or imposed upon students. While the school’s stress-relief efforts are well intentioned, they won’t ever resonate with all students, and forcing these students to participate will only increase their stress. Either make these events voluntary or try to gather enough student input to create an event that most students would be willing to sacrifice a lunch or tutorial for.


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