Stephen Li ('21)
Leadership dominates daily life at Webb. From hosting the annual homecoming dance, to Halloween party, to the start-of-year orientation, to cultural celebrations, leadership groups have always been a prominent and vital presence on campus.
In the past, leadership groups—such as Student Government, peer advisors, or dorm prefects—began selecting new members at the beginning of second semester, usually around February. Each group had a different yet holistic process, whether it was through written applications, interviews, student votes, or multiple.
Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak in March of 2020, the Webb community has adapted to virtual learning. As a result, this year, each leadership group modified the usual application process to cater to this virtual learning environment.
Some leadership groups, such as the Honor Cabinet and the dorm prefects, have kept the majority of the traditional application, adding some changes for the Zoom environment and in the context of the pandemic.
“Luckily, much of the leadership application is essentially the same. However, instead of in–person interviews we have them over zoom and the student vote is conducted through a student wide survey,” said Livia Hughson (‘21), member of the Honor Cabinet. “We provided a question on our application that provided an opportunity for students to articulate how they had been effected by COVID [and] if they felt it was necessary to share something.”
“This year we had a few changes to the application process. We still kept the same creative introduction but we changed a few of the questions because most applicants haven’t lived in the dorms as much,” said Sharon Xu (‘22), VWS dorm prefect. “We did have a question specifically regarding areas of support for the students because of COVID-19 and virtual learning. We also did not have an interview this year because it would be hard to schedule all the times and coordinate everything.”
On the other hand, other leadership groups, such the International Student Liaison and the peer advisors, disregarded the traditional application and designed a new one from scratch.
“This year, ISL completely changed our leadership application process due to the restrictions of virtual learning. Instead of a written application, which we used to required, the ISL application this year include a 2-minute video presentation from each applicant,” said Jonathan Zhang (‘21), co-head of the International Student Liaison. “We only received six applications this year, which is significantly less than the number from past few years. In my opinion, the decrease in applications we received is understandable, as the freshmen did not get the full on-campus experience and interactions with the ISLs.”
“This year’s peer advisor application has taken a different form than years prior, as we included a mock fresh seminar class as part of the process,” said Johnathon Maschler (‘21), head peer advisor. “Teaching freshman seminar has become a bit more important for the PAs this year so this was really helpful in evaluating potential applicants.”
While leadership groups adapted the traditional application process due to the lack of in-person interactions, they still managed to carry out a thorough process, selecting new and fresh perspectives to prepare for the 2021-2022 school year. For all students who submitted application for a leadership position this year, get pumped, and the results will soon be announced!