Why did you join SQuAC and can you explain the group to those who might not know?
I joined SQuAC in my sophomore year after my trip to the Quaker Youth Leadership Conference (QYLC). As a sophomore, I was so intrigued by my experiences in a Quaker school, especially the 10th grade seminar class when we talked about how Quaker values like integrity and simplicity could essentially influence our decision-making and daily practices in a way that helps us stay true to ourselves, true to our community, and true to the environment around us. At QYLC, I was part of many conversations with students from all backgrounds and all over the country who all felt empowered and inspired by their experiences at Quaker schools. Many of them have managed to find the light in their experiences and share it with others by forming student-led Quaker committees that help shape other students’ experiences. I saw a lot of potential for the AFS community back then, so I joined SQuAC in an attempt to make my visions come true.
SQuAC is dedicated to working closely with the administration to lift up students’ voices and leadership. We advocate for students to be part of the decision-making that will shape the experiences of students at AFS. We want to engage the student body in the Quaker foundation of the school, and we have organized trips to Quaker Youth Leadership Conference, the Quaker Visit Day, and multiple “Worship Sharings” for the Upper School in the past. This year, we introduced the “Collective Porpoise” to the Upper School. Everyone in the community was encouraged to write down their purposes within the community, and we collected all the porpoise stickers to form a larger porpoise—a collective of different voices and different purposes, bringing us together as a community. Under the current difficult circumstances, SQuAC has prioritized the mission to maintain the sense of community and to support solidarity.
Can you describe the experience of a Worship Walk?
A worship walk can happen online or in real life. On a worship walk people are encouraged to take a walk and enjoy the weather and scenery. Whether in person or online, they can feel the company of each other even if they are not physically together.
I felt moved by that experience of going on the worship walk with my peers over zoom. On the worship walk, I was amazed by how I have always taken nature’s liveliness for granted. Right now, I am relying on the positivity of nature, as many of us are, to maintain some liveliness within. I am really thankful that I could share this experience with my AFS community, and I felt so supported and lifted up by AFS community, as always. We hope that through this experience, everyone will be able to find some hope and joy in life despite all the losses and difficulties that they are experiencing right now.