Inside a Board of Stewards Meeting

Hannibal de Pencier

Have you ever wondered what exactly the Board of Stewards does?  If you’re under the impression that they plan lip syncing competitions, faculty sumo-wrestling, or deliberate enviously about replicating Branksome’s superior dining hall, then you wouldn’t be wrong.  However, I’ve always thought our white-coated friends get a bad rap.  So, following the suggestion of our future head steward, Adam Rothman, I went to sit in on a meeting in order to relay to the school what exactly the Board of Stewards does.

To begin with I was invited to a meeting, before being suspiciously and adamantly rescheduled.  Unfortunately, I was unable to discover what sort of indiscretion they were hiding that week.  Was it a ritual sacrifice, unveiling of the new nuclear arsenal? My money’s on the latter, but regardless, I was re-invited to the following week’s meeting.

I dutifully arrived at the 12:20 starting time, notebook tucked under the arm of my meager blue blazer, and my first thought was, ‘Am I in the right place?’  In fact, I was, but it turns out the start time of these things is pretty loose.  On-time however was Sevion, unpacking the contents of his lunchbox, Zhengbeng, dutifully working on his math homework (which he proceeded to complete without pause throughout the meeting), and young Adam Rothman, who was also there in an observatory capacity.  Slowly, more Stewards rolled in until about half were present (the other half were at house basketball) and the meeting began.

Jagdeo led the agenda, with a model UN gavel at his side.  The first topic of discussion: spirit week.  Personally, I cringe at the idea of UCC spirit week.  It always seems to try too hard and completely miss the mark.  However, I was impressed by the sincerity and thought that the Stewards put into its consideration.  Tom Reeve in particular, among other ideas, suggested casual dress for the week, making him the MVP of the meeting thus far.  Other not so good suggestions included lip syncing “battles” and other elements of girl school spirit weeks.  Sorry Sevion, you’re not the head of Branksome.  It was at this point that Will Stevens suggested faculty summon wrestling, a point to which he would intermittently return throughout the remainder of the meeting.  Also notable was a reiteration of Ty Greenberg’s joke, regarding theme, by a Steward who will remain nameless.

Next up on the docket was the LD.  This kicked off with a vehement discussion regarding the quality, or rather, the degree of sogginess, of LD sandwiches between Bradley Manucha and Pearce Gould.  Luckily, Sevion, munching baby carrots from his tupperware, intervened to keep the boys on track.  At this point the stewards talked dreamily about the culinary Utopias that are the Branksome and Havergal dining halls.  Word on the street is that Branksome has Freshi style bowls.  While the stewards considered the practicality of such a thing at UCC, Mac Connor rolls in at 12:59, about 40 minutes late.  Mr. Williams took the opportunity to reprimand the Mowbrey’s head for his improper dress.  Mac then laughed hysterically at the mention of a certain anatomical term and was, yet again, marked down.

If you’re thinking to yourself at this point that a Stewards meeting sounds like a joke then, well, you’re not entirely wrong, but at the same time it’s worth acknowledging that the Stewards are responsible for far more intricacies than most of us realize.  The Stewards oversee much of the developments at UCC and are our only direct connection to the administration.  Personally, I was disappointed to not see Sevion sitting at the head of the table, in a high-backed leather chair, stroking a cat with one hand, while the other hovered over the big red button.  Unfortunately, the authority of the board of stewards is far more subtle; yet, it’s also by no means insignificant.  As Sevion divulged, a lot of the work is “behind the scenes with admissions and parent organizations and it’s not often publicized.”  Another steward mentioned that much of the Board’s projects are continuations of initiatives established by previous board’s, making the manifestations of their work hard to identify.  The progression of the LD over the past years is a good example of such an ongoing initiative.  So, while they’re not exactly the glowing image of authority, they’re the voice that we have and should be respected – and scrutinized – as such.