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  • Writer's pictureFelicity Neeson

15 unique ways for student leaders to take tangible action in their role.

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

We believe that leadership is “taught not caught”, and the best way for student leaders to grow is to take tangible action. There are so many ways that they can positively impact their school and community. Here are 15 ideas that you can share with your student leaders to inspire them:

1. Organise a casual clothes day where everyone must wear second hand clothes

While casual clothes days are effective ways to raise money, sometimes there can be a disconnect between the cause and the manner of fundraising. An alternative approach is to invite students to wear casual clothes that they have brought from an op shop. This way the fundraiser is doubly effective as the op shop charity also benefits. The student leaders can also educate the younger students about the importance of sustainability and how organisations like Vinnies and Salvos use op shops to assist people in need.

2. Start a podcast that covers topics that students are interested in

Keen to promote student voice in your school? Provide the opportunity for the student leaders to host their own radio station or podcast where they can share about topics and issues they are passionate about. They can practice their communication and writing skills as well as organisation and teamwork.

3. Organise a talent show

Connecting with something they are passionate about and enjoy is a great way for student leaders to get excited about making a difference. For students who enjoy music and performing, organising a talent show or concert can be a great way for them to raise money and awareness for a cause they care about. Audience members can pay a donation to attend, and there can be information about the chosen cause incorporated into the performance.

4. Organise a “fun run” or “walk-a-thon”

Fun runs and walk-a-thons are great ways to be active while raising awareness and money for a cause you care about. Student leaders can take an active role in choosing the cause, coordinating students to participate and coordinating key event details.

5. Write letters to the local government to advocate about important issues

Writing letters to their local government about issues they are passionate about is an excellent way for student leaders to learn about advocacy and how they can work together to make a difference. Many advocacy organisation provide templates that students can use as a model, or they can keep it simple and speak from the heart.

6. Collect beanies, blankets and scarves to help people experiencing homelessness to stay warm during Winter

Collecting scarves, beanies and other warm items is a great way for student leaders to support people experiencing homelessness - particularly those who are sleeping rough. For a personal touch, students can also write cards for the people receiving the items.

7. Organise a “market day” where students host different stalls

Looking for a way to accommodate the various skills and passions of your student leaders? Organise a market day where each of the students manages their own stall. The market can be open to the school or the broader community. They can have an advocacy focus by each presenting on different social justice topics, sell things they have created for charity or pitch their ideas for how to benefit the community.

8. Visit the local retirement home and speak with the people who live there

Do your students visit your local retirement home? These visits, when run well, can be very enriching for everyone involved. The people in the retirement home can enjoy sharing their stories, and being social, and the students can learn from a different generation and develop valuable leadership skills like communication and patience. To help provide structure for the visits, there could be an activity that the students and retirees do together. The students could interview the retirees, they could play cards or board games together, the students could teach the retirees how to use the internet or play video games. There are many possibilities and it is a good idea for the student leaders to check in with the retirees and the staff at the retirement home around what they are interested in to help guide their planning. ⁠

9. Organise a non-perishable food drive

Organising a non-perishable food drive is a great way for student leaders to support people experiencing food insecurity. They can run a competition between classes to see who can collect the most items, or get each student to bring an item instead of a gold coin for a casual clothes day. It is also a great opportunity to provide education around what kinds of items will be appreciated, and what food insecurity is. For a personal touch, students can also write cards for the people receiving the items. It's a good idea to partner with an organisation like Vinnies, Foodbank or ASRC to find out where to deliver the items, and ensure that you know what is needed. ⁠

10. Establish a lunchtime club so all students have people to hang out with at lunch

It is important that all students have somewhere they feel welcome to eat their lunch. Establishing a lunchtime club where everyone is welcome is a great way for student leaders to make their school even more inclusive. The club could be activity focused (e.g. board games, reading, chess) or be purely social.⁠

11. Start a breakfast club at your school

A breakfast club is where breakfast is served at school before classes start. According to Foodbank, 92% of teachers report that breakfast clubs have a positive impact on the health-promoting environment of their school. When students start the day without breakfast, they are more likely to be unfocused and have higher levels of behavioral, emotional and educational problems.

Student leaders can take an active role in running the school breakfast club by helping cook the food, promoting the program in the school, assisting with fundraising, budgeting and purchasing of ingredients and making the participating students feel welcome.

12. Start a tutoring program or reading club

Does your school have a tutoring program? Providing opportunities for the senior students to tutor and mentor the younger students is an excellent way to foster connections, develop their leadership skills and improve the literacy/numeracy of the younger students. ⁠

13. Organise a clean up day for your school and local area

Litter is a significant environmental issue. By organising clean up days for their school and local area, student leaders can help to prevent waste ending up in our waterways which causes pollution and affects animals. These action days can also be accompanied by education around the impacts of littering and strategies to help prevent it. ⁠

14. Sleep out at school to raise awareness about people experiencing homelessness

A school sleepout is when students camp out at school for the night and eat a simple dinner to gain a basic understanding of the nightly reality for the thousands of people experiencing homelessness who sleep rough every night. Schools can partner with organisations like Vinnies and raise money to support them. If sleeping at school is not possible, students can camp in their own backyards, or do a twilight evening at school where they learn more about homelessness and bring along winter items/food to donate.⁠

15. Create a veggie garden at your school

Does your school have a veggie garden? A student run veggie patch can be a great way to learn about sustainability, promote healthy eating and support families experiencing food insecurity. The veggies from the veggie patch can be donated to your local Foodbank or Vinnies group, or provided to families within the school who need them. ⁠

What ideas would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments! To learn more about how Yellow Arrow Leadership supports student leaders to take action, check out our programs.


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