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What is Cougar House

Cougar House FAQ and Talking Points

What is Cougar House? Cougar House is a representative student body made up of one representative from each Advisory at MMU. The “Speaker of the House” double as the student representative on the MMU School Board. Cougar House meetings will advertise meeting topics ahead of time and often invite people who can speak to the issue of the day. These issues will be driven by student feedback.

How is it different from Student Council? In some ways, Cougar House is to Student Council as the House of Representatives is to the Senate. Cougar House representatives speak for a smaller group of people (Advisories) and have the opportunity to communicate information and gather student input from the entire student body.

Has Cougar House really accomplished anything? YES! In recent years Cougar House provided direct input, and in some cases implementation plans on the following:

Changes to guidelines and enforcement of the dress code

Collected student and communicated student input on parking and traffic flow.

Created guidelines to limit homework during student breaks

I-pod use policy, overturning an Administrative directive to ban I-pods

Presence at all school board meetings to advocate for students and programs.

Instatement of Junior Liberties

Meeting with Food Service director Dave Horner and Pat Daley to make menu changes including reinstatement of popular lunches, sandwiches to-order and salad bar offerings

Increase student voice at school

Meeting with Superintendent John Alberghini to voice concerns about the snow-day decision making process.

Many students seem to think it is a waste of time and nothing gets done. Per the previous question, there is plenty that has been accomplished. Additionally, there are two things to consider here: Students need to be TAUGHT how to hold effective meetings, gather and report input, and understand the process of change. Part of the Advisory Coordinator position is to facilitate this learning for all parties. Secondly, effective, lasting democracy and change take time and can sometimes seem messy. I believe that this is a great learning opportunity for all of us!

What makes a good Cougar House Representative. There is no single profile, but the following qualities are helpful:

Comfortable talking to a variety of people

Ability to listen to others and ask questions.

Gets along with others

Cougar House Representative should not already be a member of Student Council

How do we choose a representative?

Consider the question:

What are the qualities you would want in a person that represents you?

How this person is selected is up to each individual Advisory. Suggestions include:

  • Nomination and election through ballot
  • Nomination and election through discussion and consensus. (Recommended)
  • Unilateral decision (not recommended)