The holidays are a tough time to capture students’ attention. The anticipation of and return from winter break can distract students from getting involved in school activities. But your council is hard at work planning projects and events—and you want the entire student body to participate.

Fear not! There are several ways to boost student interest in your council’s activities, even in the middle of the school year.

  1. Offer a variety of activities.
    Students want to engage in events and projects that suit their personal interests. Make sure your council is offering a diverse range of activities. For example, your service projects could range from school improvement (is there a hallway that needs painting?) to volunteering with a variety of charities in the community (can you host a blood drive, solicit food donations, collect warm clothing for the homeless, or make pet toys for an area animal shelter?).
  2. Effectively market your events. The student body can’t participate in something if they don’t know about it, and they won’t participate if it doesn’t seem fun, exciting, and rewarding. Be sure to employ a variety of marketing strategies to get the word out and drum up excitement for your activities-from posters to the morning announcements to social media. You can get especially creative by incorporating topical pop culture references or creating fun memes to catch students’ attention.
  3. Repeat and revamp your most popular winter activities. If your winter ball is always a hit, continue to hold it each year—making sure it’s constantly improving. If students see there’s something new to your annual event, they will be more likely to attend.
  4. If you offer food, they will come. What could be better motivation to attend an event than a piping hot pizza (especially if you’re a starving teenager)? Food can help drive attendance and jazz up some of your less exciting tasks or more demanding activities. Entice kids with a delicious reward after doing physical labor to clean up the school grounds, for example.
  5. Make it a competition. Many students love to compete, and this competitive spirit could be just what you need to inject some enthusiasm into this time of year. For example, make your food drive a competition with some fun and coveted prizes for those who collect the most food.

These tips will help your council members get excited about planning activities as well. Invite them to think outside the box and really analyze what will excite the student body. Consider holding a brainstorming session before or after winter break (with pizza, of course) to get kids’ creative juices flowing. That way, they can return from break refreshed and ready to dive into council projects.

And remember: Enthusiasm is contagious. The more excited you are, the more excited your members will be—and the excitement will spread from there. —