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New student rights group at Park City High School

Lauren Baheshti, Park Record intern

Park City High School has a unique collection of student groups with diverse objectives from an Elvish Club to Medieval Fight Club to Gay-Straight Alliance. The most recent addition to the PCHS student organization lineup is the Amnesty International Student Group established in December by PCHS junior Marissa Bell and senior Mia Greenwald.

Amnesty International is a worldwide volunteer movement dedicated to the preservation and defense of human rights across the globe. Participating in an array of creative projects such as global Write-a-thons, an activity where students write letters to individuals around the world who are currently imprisoned unlawfully for their beliefs, the AISG has given PCHS students the unique opportunity to expand their horizons on an international level, while promoting the importance of human rights for all.

"[AISG] is a great opportunity for students to get involved with human rights on an international level,’ says AISG President Marissa Bell. ‘It’s a great community service opportunity on a global scale, that helps raise awareness of the importance of [human rights]."

AISG Vice-President Mia Greenwald adds, "[I think] part of what makes AISG so essential at PCHS is how different it is. Our school has so many clubs that have vague objectives, and aren’t as personal. AISG is more issue-based, and [fosters] a bigger sense of passion in our members."

Bell and Greenwald hope to spread human rights awareness among the student body and Park City community. Says Greenwald, "[we hope to] spread the news about what’s going on outside our community, and show what we can do to help."

So far, AISG has gotten off to a strong start with the PCHS student body. With well over 20 members signed up, the group hit the ground running with their first project, the global Write-a-thon.

"The club members that come to the meetings are very dedicated, and we can tell they care a lot about the cause," said Greenwald. The Write-a-thon turned out to be a great first project for the club, with several letters sent out to prisoners around the world who have been detained unlawfully for their beliefs and pursuits.

However, AISG has also faced some setbacks. According to Bell, "[Mia and I] were hoping we’d get a bigger turnout. We hoped for our members to be more interested in this cause, and we’re more excited about what they were a part of."

There were also a few hurdles setting up the club. Some of the founders’ proposals for fundraisers and group activities were turned down by the administration, including an information booth set up in the Eccles Center lobby during Sundance. Getting started so late in the year was due in large part to difficulties finding an advisor and distributing applications.

"In the future, we’re hoping to recruit new members. More students can help us with creating a more successful turnout with all of our projects," Bell said. "We’re just thankful to have all of the faculty support, and lots of help with the members who have participated," Bell adds.

Ultimately, AISG and its members just want to make a difference. Greenwald added, "[We just want] this club to last past our high school years, and to really help make a difference in human rights. We want to convey the message that every human has equal rights."

Amnesty International Student Group meets once a week during second lunch in Jim Fleming’s room. For more information on joining or on AISG as a whole, contact Marissa Bell at marissabell@mac.com , or Mia Greenwald at mgreenwald10@pcstudents.us .


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