Led by Ms. Katherine McDonald and Mrs. Lisa Lenhart-Murphy, the simplicity committee is a staff-led council whose goal is to reduce the extra costs around Benilde-St. Margaret’s. Rooted in the Catholic Social Teachings, the committee’s goal is to value the option for the poor and vulnerable so that every student is able to participate in traditional high school activities.
The goal of the committee is to lower the cost of extra school activities such as dances and sports and activities banquets. “There is a lot of money that is spent above and beyond tuition. We understand that [the activities] are important, but what we want to do is get together to talk about ways how we can lower the cost of those things,” said Ms. McDonald.
The committee’s goal would be to place a reasonable budget on spending for the activities. “We don’t want to cancel things; we just want to be really mindful of the cost. [We might have] student council or the different class boards be creative to figure out ways of lessening the costs of those things,” said Ms. McDonald.
Another goal of the committee is to help faculty and students distinguish between their necessities and desires. “It isn’t like we are going to take things away from the kids, but more of how do we share the load together, and looking at what our needs are and what our wants are,” said Ms. McDonald.
Not created to just lessen the cost of activities, the committee aims to reduce unnecessary spending at Benilde-St. Margaret’s. “We want to meet with the faculty and staff and allow all of us to brainstorm ways that we can cut down on costs ourselves. Maybe not using as much paper in [our] classes, or when you’re not in your classroom shut off your lights,” said Ms. McDonald.
The committee is currently made up of seven faculty members and is staff-led, but once it has a firm grounding in the school community, they plan to use students’ opinions. “Once we’ve had a good conversation with faculty and staff, we definitely want to invite kids in to meet with us and talk with us about their suggestions for things that we can do to change the cost of things, but not to eliminate things,” said Ms. McDonald.
Still in the beginning stages, the simplicity committee will slowly implement changes. “We just want to slowly [integrate it], maybe next year we’re going to lower the cost of a few dances, and maybe sports teams will be told your banquets can’t cost as much, and then the next year maybe [we’ll] incorporate a few more things,” said Ms. McDonald.