Meet the 2023-2024 ARISTA Board

ARISTA’s Executive Council has been selected for the 2023-2024 school year.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Cover Image
By Alifa Azad

At the end of the 2022-2023 school year, ARISTA, Stuyvesant’s Honor Society, selected its new executive council consisting of seniors President Vanessa Chen, Vice President of Events and Service Sophia Dasser, Vice President of Operations Juni Park, and Vice President of Web Development Shwetlana Jha. After completing a written application, a faculty member recommendation, and an interview, the council was selected following the graduation of the former executive council, composed of alumni (‘23) Kitty Wang, Ava Fung, Marilyn Shi, and Vernon Hughes. English teacher Eric Ferencz has also been chosen as the new faculty advisor of ARISTA, as history teacher and former faculty advisor of ARISTA Eric Wisotsky is on sabbatical.

Becoming a member of the executive council entails much more than an applicant’s contributions to ARISTA. “ARISTA looks beyond the organization to choose its leaders,” Dasser said. “ARISTA leaders are expected to uphold strong character in their classes and when interacting with others. Leaders are also expected to be involved in many scopes of Stuyvesant.”

Another key aspect of being a member of the executive council is ensuring that all members continue to uphold the four pillars of ARISTA: character, scholarship, leadership, and service. “If [one has] some level of leadership in the organization, then [they should] commit to it,” Jha said. “As ARISTA members, [they] are role models for the rest of the school, and it's really important to help uphold the integrity of the organization.”

For some members of the executive council, applying for the position was a way to further their fulfilling experiences as general members of ARISTA. “One of my big joys of ARISTA was helping out in the attendance office, because I got to meet the staff who work at the attendance office and get to know them as people,” Chen said. “For me personally, that’s when I thought ARISTA was worth staying in, because I get to meet people who may not get that much recognition in our community.”

Likewise, Dasser hopes that her leadership role will allow her to provide new members of ARISTA with rewarding experiences similar to those she has had throughout her time with the organization. “I wanted to further my involvement in ARISTA even more by opening up more service work and spearheading new long-term partnerships with organizations around the city so that new ARISTA members can feel the same fulfillment I did through our organization,” Dasser said.

Ferencz shared that his primary motive for applying for the position of faculty advisor of ARISTA was the opportunity to better understand student life at Stuyvesant. “I think for me, the longer that I work at Stuy, the more clear it has become that this school is a big part of my identity,” Ferencz said. “While it is very comfortable for me to work within the confines of just being a classroom teacher and just working with other English teachers, [...] it seems as though this was a good opportunity for me to see a little bit of [the] students’ side of what the Stuy experience is like.”

Over the summer, the executive council began hosting meetings with Ferencz in order to discuss plans and goals for the upcoming school year. “I had a chance to meet with the executive council,” Ferencz said. “I found that the members of executive councils are very professional, very organized, and serious about this commitment to enriching the Stuyvesant experience.”

One of the major goals of the executive council is to increase ARISTA’s influence in the Stuyvesant community. “There are tutoring services that we provide, but we can do a better job advertising those services, making sure that teachers are aware that students are aware of those services,” Ferencz said. “We’re also going to be looking at the school schedule for different events that are coming up and different ways that ARISTA can be an increased presence at those events. We want to make sure that ARISTA is not an island that exists [unto] itself, but is very much a part of all degrees of Stuyvesant life.”

One idea that the board has to increase its presence in student life is to hold more push-ins where ARISTA members will host conversations with students, typically during homeroom sessions. “Different ARISTA members [will] go into freshman homeroom[s] and have a talk with them about stress management,” Chen said. “We also really want to get more involved with push-ins having to do with diversity, race, and gender. We definitely want to be inclu[sive] with these push-ins.”

Another confirmed plan that is already in action among the executive council is the ARISTA induction ceremony, which has not been held for four years. The main purpose of the induction ceremony is to present a sense of unity among the large body of ARISTA members. “It is a very important starting point because, when you have a community of over 200 people, it’s very difficult to get connected,” Chen said. “By having this induction ceremony, not only are we making your membership in ARISTA more official, but we’re also giving a chance for people to bond with each other, for the community to get to know each other.”

Aside from their objectives for ARISTA as a whole, members of the executive council hope to implement improvements within their respective committees. For example, Park has focused on establishing greater efficiency and organization within the Operations committee through her plan to implement subcommittees. “I want to try making subcommittees within my Operations committee, because I feel like splitting [the members] up would be maybe smarter than letting new people sign up every task,” Park said. “I’d rather just have set subcommittees that people can join, so say the social media subcommittee or the newsletter subcommittee where a group of kids will work on [those tasks].”

With all of their preparations thus far, Ferencz is confident in the development of ARISTA throughout the upcoming school year. “I have a lot of respect [for], a lot of faith in the current executive council,” Ferencz said. “I think that they are going to do a very wonderful job. I am excited to see what this year brings.”