Meet the 2022-2023 ARISTA Board

Issue 2, Volume 113

By Kai Caothien, Digit Kim, Sarah Diaz 

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At the end of the 2021-2022 school year, seniors President Kitty Wang, Vice President of Events Ava Fung, Vice President of Operations Marilyn Shi, and Vice President of Web Development Vernon Hughes were selected as this year’s executive council of ARISTA, Stuyvesant’s honor society. The former executive council, alumni (’22) Leah DSilva, Ashley Choi, Isabel Ching, and Elizabeth Stansberry, chose this council after the members completed an extensive application process, including a written application, recommendations from a teacher and guidance counselor, and a formal interview with the former executive council and with history teacher and ARISTA faculty advisor Eric Wisotsky.

Applicants were judged not only by their qualifications for the position but also by their ability to work as a team. “The team dynamic is so important [...] especially when you are sitting on a Zoom call in a one- to three-hour meeting hashing out ideas,” Wisotsky said. “It’s not like the all-stars team, picking the best of each thing. It’s putting together the best team.”

The council members applied for their position to give back and expand on their meaningful experiences with ARISTA, such as the tutoring process. “It’s one thing to get good test grades, but for someone else who I’ve helped [to do well on a test] report back to me or in a future session filled to the brim with joy [...] makes you know that you are making a difference, [and] sometimes it’s just the small one-on-one thing [interactions],” Hughes said.

Once they got acquainted, the board formed new plans and goals to implement for the year. Fung is focusing on creating a sense of unity among ARISTA members during volunteering events. “One of the things I really wanted to do [during events] was make sure members are feeling a sense of unity because it’s one of the places where ARISTA members really can interact with each other,” Fung said. “We’re definitely thinking of making sure event leaders are facilitating good conversation with everyone, giving surveys for them, [and] getting feedback.”

A new “cluster system” has also been established by Wang to help members of ARISTA meet other program members and create bonds. “ARISTA has nearly 200 members, and that is a hard number to think about when trying to find yourself and where you are within such a large community,” Wang said. “To facilitate that process, we’ve introduced smaller groups consisting of 15 to 16 people with two moderators coming from committees [events, operations, and web development].” These clusters are also meant to serve as informational sessions regarding updates and events.

Some ARISTA members are excited about the cluster system and other efforts to make ARISTA feel more personal. “We’ve never done this before, and I really love the idea of establishing a community within ARISTA,” junior and Events Committee member Sophia Dasser said in an e-mail interview.

Additionally, ARISTA recognizes the importance of lending a helping hand to underclassmen. A system of upperclassmen helping freshmen adjust to Stuyvesant both academically and mentally was implemented in the 2021-2022 school year. This year, Shi hopes to expand this initiative. “Last year, the ARISTA operations committee partnered with the Stuyvesant counseling department to give Stuyvesant [freshmen] support with topics such as time management, organization and study skills, and self-care,” she said. “This year we might expand on the partnership with the department to both freshmen and sophomores, as a way to show how ARISTA can be a resource.”

Finally, the new executive chair wants to encourage self-growth amongst its 200 members. “More often than not, people see ARISTA as just an honors society that primarily volunteers within our local communities. But we’re also striving to ensure that while all our members are able to support those who are in their neighborhood and communities, [the ARISTA community] can provide internal support systems [such as study skills and time management help] to foster personal growth,” Wang said.