Arvin Hariri is a current Berkeley High School (BHS) senior who was elected to be the student representative to the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) School Board for the 2018-19 school year. The school board consists of five elected adult members, as well as two student representatives, one from BHS and one from Berkeley Technology Academy.
Since joining the school board, Hariri has learned a lot about how local government works and the policies behind his education. “It gives you a different perspective on the classroom, which I really value,” Hariri said. Hariri also views the school board as a way in which he can give back to the community, through talking on behalf of certain groups at BHS to the board members and public about issues that students are passionate about. “To be able to contribute on the same level as the other board members is a really tremendous opportunity that I don’t really think you get anywhere else,” Hariri said. He also enjoys when other BHS student groups, such as Vote 16, come present at the school board because it allows the other board members to see first-hand what students are passionate about.
While joining the school board was something very different than anything he had done before, Hariri feels a lot of gratitude towards the board members that made the transition for him smooth. According to Hariri, all the board members have helped him stay educated and informed from the moment he held the position. Hariri meets every other week with the Superintendent to discuss the meeting agenda and obtain background understanding about the issues that will be presented that week. He is also in constant contact with the other board members, who have helped ensure he stays up to date with important emails and news. “They will go out of their way to create a new system of spreading information just for me, so that makes me feel really valued as a member,” said Hariri.
As a member of the school board, Hariri is particularly passionate about giving students more say in their education. To accomplish this, Hariri advocates for student groups such as Vote 16 and the Youth Commission to come present at meetings. “I think my primary contribution has been making [the school board] remember that this is an educational institution and the primary stakeholders in that institution are the students,” he said.