The Basalt High School Student Leadership Council has set their efforts on a goal different than the norm this school year — one that doesn’t just correlate with homecoming and other school related activities, but for the whole of the student body’s lifestyle.
The leadership council has created and successfully begun funding their own social enterprise: The BELONG Project.
The BELONG Project, in collaboration with the Carson J. Spencer Foundation’s “The FIRE Within” program, was initially started due to a school-wide needs assessment that determined that many students felt stressed due to isolation and lack of acceptance within their school environment. This lack of student connection caused the leadership council to believe that students would begin feeling distressed and would pull away from school, their families and the community. In order to counter this possibility, the BELONG project was founded.
“We felt that we needed to focus our efforts on ensuring that students at Basalt feel connected and that they are a part of something,” said BELONG Project CEO Jamie Briscoe, a junior at the school. “As a class we looked at ways that we could help the student body come together and make everyone feel like they belong, and so that is when The BELONG Project was born.”
In order to follow through with the mission slogan of The BELONG Project — “Uniting our community, creating pride, promoting acceptance” — the Student Leadership Council has created the “B” sticker. The quote around the “B” sticker reads, “Be one. Be proud. Belong. Be a LONGHORN.” The hope is for students and community members to place the stickers on their vehicles, notebooks, water bottles or whatever surface they desire to show their involvement and hopefully make them feel included and united within the Basalt community.
“We wanted to come up with a product that would make kids feel involved,” Briscoe said. “The Aspen community all have red ‘A’ stickers on their cars to represent that they attend Aspen High, and so we thought, ‘Why doesn’t Basalt have something like that? Something that shows that we go to Basalt and we are proud to be Longhorns?’
“So we thought why not create our own sticker, one that represents that we are from Basalt and that we feel pride in showing our connection to this beautiful place we call home,” Briscoe said.
Quickly gaining hype, the “B” sticker has already begun showing up on students’ and teachers’ personal items, such as cars and water bottles. At only $4 each, local businesses and school organizations have begun buying the stickers in bulk, including the Basalt Education Foundation and Parents in Education, who recently agreed to buy a sticker for every incoming kindergartener who enters Basalt Elementary.
“The community has already shown an immense amount of support for The BELONG Project and we feel that it will only grow from here,” Student Leadership Council advisor Katie Hone-Wiltgen said. “We have already begun preparing for the coming years in terms of how to expand and grow the enterprise, hoping to make it as effective and as popular as possible. I think that in the long run it’s going to be something huge.”
Genevieve Lawry is a senior at Basalt High School. She is in journalism class and also a member of the Student Leadership Council.