The Empowering Student Voices Initiative creates a safe community for Webb students

ESVI+is+a+safe+space+for+every+member+of+the+Webb+community+to+discuss+any+relevant+issues+or+problems.

ESVI is a safe space for every member of the Webb community to discuss any relevant issues or problems.

What is ESVI? 

Three years ago, Chris Haliburton (‘20) and Amanda Wang (‘20) created ESVI (Empowering Student Voices Initiative). They started the initiative to empower students’ voices inside the Webb community to help them feel heard and seen no matter what.

One of the ESVI’s main roles is to help educate the community. They do this in several ways, such as acting as communicators to the board of trustees, hosting weekly meetings about issues around campus, bringing in guest speakers, and attending the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC).

When the board of trustees is looking to hear from a student’s voice or when the Webb community needs the board to hear the student perspective, ESVI is the group that communicates their concerns to the board. ESVI has also hosted events with guest speakers, such as Professor Derik Smith from Claremont McKenna College, who talked about the history of hip-hop culture and how that has affected modern-day music.

During ESVI meetings, members of ESVI discuss pressing issues that they or other students may be experiencing to find potential solutions. The problems are then presented to the board of trustees so everyone in the Webb community is informed.

ESVI also helps introduce students to SDLC. During SDLC, students learn the foundations of allyship and networking principles, design effective strategies for social justice through dialogue, and develop cross-cultural communication skills.

“I definitely think taking kids to SDLC helps the community in huge ways,” Isabella Llorens (‘22) said. “Personally, I came back super motivated, really wanting to change things I felt weren’t fair or were unjust within our own school system and independent schools in general.”

ESVI students then implement the skills learned during SDLC to create effective solutions to the problems Webb students face.

Some goals for ESVI are to acquire more members in the future. With more members, ESVI can achieve goals faster and hear more of the community’s voice.

“Everyone has their own interests within ESVI,” Isabella said. “For me personally it has been advocating for racial and ethnic inclusion in diversity throughout the years.”

There is no limit on what can be discussed in ESVI meetings, as everyone has different interests. Most of the time, there is intersectionality between the topics discussed in ESVI, so it all comes back together in the end.

Webb students interested in joining ESVI 

“To the people who want to join ESVI, I say do it!” Isabella said. “Every single student in the community should want to empower other voices. It’s about making sure we’re all heard. It does not need to be twisted into ‘I don’t want to be seen as that kid’ or being seen as too liberal.”

At ESVI, you could advocate the issue of not having a gluten-free option in the dining hall. Although this is a simple example, it shows that something as small as that could empower a student’s voice. While traditionally ESVI handles more pressing topics, such as racism, sexism, and community building on the Webb campus, that does not mean there is not room for other issues.

Students are the people who create change the fastest because their voices are valued by those in the Webb community. At ESVI, your voice will be heard.

“If you are a part of the Webb community, feel free to join ESVI,” Isabella said.

If you are looking to join ESVI, you can contact Nick Lee, Mr. Choi, Isabella Llorens, Hunter Lange, or myself. You can also come to the meetings hosted by Nick and Isabella during flex times.