The Associated Student Body (ASB) of Samohi kicked off the “What’s Your Value?” campaign this week. Originally designed by Social Studies teacher Daniel Braunfeld to improve the social climate of Samohi, the campaign began with the distribution of surveys asking students to write what they value more than hate. After collecting over 1,000 responses, ASB had the most popular responses — love, friends, family, respect and peace — printed on buttons.ASB began handing out the buttons on Monday during lunch. Though they were free of charge, to receive one a student had to sign a “social contract” promising to play a positive role in the larger community. The contract read: “I agree to advocate peace. I agree to respect and accept the Samohi community despite our different backgrounds. I will resolutely stand up against violence, be it verbal, physical or passive. I will create an environment where others feel safe. I agree to unity.” As lunch began, students poured into the quad and immediately headed for the button booth. Shouts were heard of “Hey, I want one of those” and “These are so cool!” ASB members, including sophomore ASB member Alec Richker, manned the booth. “Our goal is to allow students to express what they really value,” said Richker. “When the students wear their hearts on buttons, they can see that they have something in common.”ASB’s president, senior Sharona Daneshrad, called the campaign a “student leadership effort to positively impact the campus in response to all the bad things that have been happening here. We asked ourselves, ’what can unify the school? In what direction do we want our school to go?’ “At Open House, leadership hopes to sell coffee mugs, t-shirts and other What’s Your Value merchandise to parents. Braunfeld, in order to reach beyond the campus and into the Santa Monica community, wants to collect the signatures from the social contracts and make posters of them to place all over Santa Monica. Though the response to the campaign has been so far positive, Braunfeld admits, “A noticeable amount of students didn’t take the survey seriously. Some wrote answers like ’pizza is my value’ or ’sex is my value.’ But this doesn’t faze me. It was just a bunch of uncreative people thinking they’re original.””I know one activity can’t change everything,” said Daneshrad, who plans to lead ASB in designing more tolerance-related projects. “But hopefully this will be the first spark of change. I hope everyone is as excited as I am.” Braunfeld feels that the school and community might not have the patience for such a long-term project: “People are looking for a quick fix to the problems on campus. They’re looking for a magic pill that will cure intolerance.” But he recognizes that people are changing: “When I first started this, people thought that we were just having a bunch of meetings and wouldn’t ever do anything. Now they’re starting to realize that we are serious. Also, people who used to say, ’Racism doesn’t effect me. Gangs don’t effect me. I’m not part of it, so why should I care?’ realize, because of Eddie Lopez’s death, that it effects everybody. Eddie was a victim of something he didn’t sign up for.”ASB also proposed a resolution on March 9 to the SMMUSD School Board stating six ways Samohi can create respect and tolerance on campus. The Board agreed to consider making the resolution, which calls for “an environment that values individuals as equal members of the human race,” a standard for the entire school district.
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