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September: Club executives and advisers can improve communication

Two years ago, the administration passed a new policy requiring club advisers to supervise members’ activities both inside and outside of school. With this policy change, advisers have begun to take on more significant roles in clubs and oversee club activities more carefully. Sometimes, advisers are not properly informed of their exact =roles within their respective clubs and therefore end up assuming too much responsibility. While advisers’ guidance is beneficial in several ways, it is important to keep in mind that these clubs are ultimately students’ endeavors.

The roles that teachers play in a classroom and in a club are vastly different.  In clubs, executive members, rather than advisers, are the ones leading meetings, submitting proposals and organizing events. Students should be able to take clubs as an opportunity to act independently, as students usually cannot do this in a classroom setting.

Club advisers’ concerns regarding equity and productivity within clubs are valid, but do not warrant advisers’ extensive involvement in clubs. Often, these executive members, as well as other club members, share the same goal as club advisers—to actively promote and contribute to their club’s cause.

Furthermore, because executive members have generally been actively involved in club activities for prolonged periods of time, most of these students are well aware of their responsibilities and communicate with one another to carry them out. For example, each club’s executive team keeps track of individual members’ participation by recording points or strikes and regularly contacts other members through email, phone or Facebook.

Nevertheless, it is understandable that advisers, who are sometimes left out of these interactions, may feel confused. Executive teams need to remember that their position as the leading force of clubs should not diminish the significance of advisers. The adviser’s presence is imperative in ensuring that students make practical decisions and be held accountable for their actions. Rather than pushing separate agendas, club members and advisers can merge their visions by communicating more.

Because every club has unique needs and systems, the extent of the adviser’s impact in each club is different. As a result, clear communication between advisers and executives should be established to reduce the tension over the authority of each. Club executives and advisers can facilitate discussions to clarify what is expected of each other and make sure both parties are fully informed of the club activities.

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