On Sep. 7, clubs officially began despite the modified school environment provided for all club members. SIS has effectively been implementing measures accounting for safety in the school environment by alternating between off and on-campus classes with the balance of the two settings every week, allowing one or two grade levels to attend their classes on the school campus. This division split the upperclassmen from the underclassmen, which heightened the divide between grades. Regardless of some drawbacks, the high school clubs declared that there would be mandatory meetings on the designated day of the week during activity periods regardless of the different settings. To signal the importance of clubs, many have created their own google classroom. Students were notified to students via email and were given activation codes.
“We utilized zoom calls and google hangouts for our virtual meetings, and it was definitely challenging to manage all grade levels at first,” said Eileen Kim (11), executive of four distinguished clubs. “Although it was indeed a struggle, we shared important updates in the most concise way possible. Communication was a key aspect of success in clubs, so we saved time to answer questions in the end in order to prevent confusion for the members. I believe that the whole executive team tried our best to encourage all members to participate in club activities. However, the lack of motivation was a huge disadvantage in many ways. The least that could be done, in this case, was to directly contact the members and reach out to them first. I felt it was right to make members feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar environment as an executive member.”
It is clear that more people in executive positions are leading the club during these foreign circumstances and guiding the other new and returning members to these unfamiliar adjustments taking place. In turn, students are more independent, solving problems on their own in efforts to make the most of the situation. Still, as mentioned previously, many flaws are apparent from this drastic change as the communication and interactions once put at avail to the students’ disposal have become altered. Due to this physical separation, a border is created as it becomes harder for students to ask individual, personal questions as such ways of communication have become more complicated than face to face conversations. The tendency for more lenient, flexible schedules to be created for clubs increased in frequency as well. To add on, even the short time allotted solely dedicated to club meetings have less prioritization than they did previously, making this situation an ongoing concern as it shows a declining focus on clubs. Clubs, in general, have been dismissing members at an earlier time than intended, which shows that much planning should be done prior to starting the club meeting to bring out productivity.
“I think clubs are important as a way for students to demonstrate their passions and interests in current events or hobbies,” said Morgan Davis, a school counselor. “I have talked to some student executives who have said that it has been difficult to organize interactions with each other in a virtual learning environment. However, students have been really creative in making club meetings happen despite these difficulties. In addition, I feel like it is necessary to connect with each other even if it is virtually. Connecting in a larger environment where we are able to have discussions and meet is beneficial for the whole school community.”
To look on the bright side, clubs are already prepared to adapt more improvements that can potentially lead to the betterment of the club by addressing current issues that are posed by students. Many of the listed inconveniences are trivial, to say the least, as continued endeavors are practiced among the members in charge of the club and solidify the basis of the clubs. A little effort goes a long way: with more facilitation of these clubs through direct guidelines and agendas, it would inevitably solidify the groundwork of the club and solve difficulties that may have arisen during the process in efficacy.
“We are currently attempting to do the best we can at the given moment by taking into account what can be done for the improvement of our club as a whole,” said Michelle Heo (11), Vice President of the STEM and Robotics Club. “Many clubs, including us, are adjusting to the different formats and learning to do better as we progress throughout the year. Through some modifications, I think we are all capable of creating a unified environment for everyone.”