Students from across Alaska convene in Wasilla for AASG fall conference

The conference allows kids an opportunity to introduce real legislation at the student body level
The conference allows kids an opportunity to introduce real legislation at the student body level
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 5:54 PM AKDT
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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - They might be the youngest politicians in the last frontier as student government officials from high schools across the state have convened at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center to take part in the Alaska Association of Student Governments’ fall conference.

During the three-day gathering hosted by Wasilla High School, students practice parliamentary procedures by introducing, debating, amending, and voting on actual resolutions that evoke change within the school district. Earlier this year during the spring conference, students passed 10 resolutions, including a name change to the gymnasium at Polaris K-12 School and allowing hats to be worn indoors at Delta High School.

The biannual conference occurs once in the spring and again in the fall, offering ample opportunities for students to introduce legislation at the student body level.

“I know some Mat-Su students are bringing forward, talking about the AP credit for all that our school district is pushing for,” said Karli Rauchenstein, student government co-adviser for WHS. “They talk about things as small as decorating graduation caps to recycling programs or protecting Indigenous women in our state.”

The conference allows kids an opportunity to introduce real legislation at the student body...
The conference allows kids an opportunity to introduce real legislation at the student body level.(AKNS)

Once a resolution is read, the students then follow all the rules of parliamentary procedure by making formal motions to strike and amend whereas statements. The young lawmakers then vote on each of those motions once everyone has been given the floor to make statements and ask questions.

Not only is it a chance for students to encourage change, it’s also an opportunity for their voices to be heard — like student body president for WHS Quinlen Schachle.

“It’s super important that we have like, informed individuals that know how the process works,” Schachle stated. “Knowing it at a young level, knowing how important that representation is.”

Around 340 students from over 30 schools made the trip to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to take part in the democratic process, which is ultimately aimed at providing tools for the future leaders of Alaska.

“Who’s to say that someone that’s here isn’t going to be our mayor one day, or one of our representatives,” Rauchenstein said. “It’s also a really cool place for them to get to know kids from all across the state and really see who they would be representing and who they would be working for.”