In mid-September, the Gateway to the Klondike will play host to over 300 students from around the state as Skagway’s Student Council hosts the town’s first-ever Alaska Association of Student Governments (AASG) Conference.

Preparations for the AASG conference are already underway; Student Council Vice President Eliza Myers said Skagway has been communicating with AASG and recruiting help locally to facilitate the conference.
“We have to find places to house 350 kids and feed them,” Student Council President Madison Cox said.

“We’re on-track as of right now.”

Registration for the conference starts the month of, so the Student Council won’t know the exact head count for several more weeks, but the estimate is around 350, Cox said.

The event will have student-led panels for the visiting student government representatives.

During the conference, student governments from across Alaska can put forward resolutions over school topics and other issues, which the participants discuss and vote on.

“If it passes, basically ASSG will back you up and you can take it to your school board,” Cox said.

Myers said hosting the conference will benefit the local students with the experience of organizing such a large endeavor.

Skagway’s Student Council will also be expected to give speeches as well.

For the visiting students, the AASG conference is typically held at larger schools in bigger Alaska cities, Myers said, where space and resources are much more abundant.

“So a lot of people will see how a smaller community interacts,” Myers said.

“A lot of people will benefit by coming to Skagway, and seeing how Skagway works and learning more about the Gold Rush, which was one of the big boom and busts for Alaska’s economy.”

The theme for the conference is “Gateway to the Future,” a play off Skagway’s municipal slogan: “The Gateway to the Klondike.”

“We’re encouraging future generations to take on leadership roles and to use their voice to better their communities and their environments,” Myers said.

The community has “already done a lot” to help Student Council with the conference, Myers said.
“And we’re really thankful for that,” Myers said.

Cox said she hopes the town will welcome the influx of visiting student government representatives when they come from Sept. 21-23.

“And be open to all the students to show them how awesome the community is,” Cox said.

The AASG – pronounced Ah-sog – is made up from approximately 150 high schools across Alaska. The organization is led by a 17-seat board comprised of students selected for either one- or two-year terms.