The New Jersey Association of Student Councils (NJASC) is the nation's oldest student leadership organization. Since its inception in 1927 as the New Jersey Association of High School Councils, the NJASC has continually evolved and constantly been at the forefront of student leadership and student issues. The NJASC is dedicated to helping middle and high school student councils to be more active and engaged in their schools and communities. Throughout the school year, the NJASC works with both student leaders and student council advisors to encourage participation in student government and provide a forum for students to network and share ideas for successful projects and events. In 2006, the NJASC updated its certificate of incorporation in the State of New Jersey and reconfirmed its long-time status as an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) corporation. Contributions to the NJASC are tax deductible.
Each summer the NJASC sponsors a Leadership Training Conference, a 4-day retreat where students learn critical leadership skills including communication and public speaking, problem solving, respecting diversity, project planning, and managing conflict. Each January, over 1500 student leaders from middle and high school student councils throughout the state convene at the NJASC's annual Convention. Students elect their statewide representatives to the NJASC Executive Board and the New Jersey State Board of Education. In addition, students attend a variety of student-led workshops on such topics as planning successful charity events and creative ways to boost school spirit. Awards are given for the Top Ten Student Council Projects, Honor School Student Councils, as well as the High School and Middle School Student Leaders of the Year. Each May the NJASC sponsors a Spring Awards Program, at which awards are given for support of the State Charity and the Standards of Excellence program. Each October, the NJASC sponsors a Fall Business Meeting, at which the Administrator and Advisor of the Year are honored. During all of these meetings, students gather to interact with one another, exchange ideas and expand opportunities for their individual school student organizations. In 2006, the NJASC became a registered professional development provider with the State of New Jersey Advisors, and provides opportunities for advisors to receive professional development credit at each of these meetings.
The NJASC demonstrates a tradition of excellence and innovation in student leadership. Additionally, the NJASC enables New Jersey student councils to uniquely promote school and community pride. As an example, the NJASC has adopted a different state charity each school year. The adopted charity is selected by the students of the NJASC executive board, and funds are raised individually by the state's middle and high school student councils. The annual program was begun in the early 1970s, and expanded to the current format approximately ten years later. In that format, the selected charity must benefit a cause within the state of New Jersey; individual schools are recognized for their efforts during the NJASC Spring Awards Program. To date, more than $4 million has been contributed by New Jersey students through the NJASC to its State Charity program.