The Case of the Missing Clubs
by Gigi Protasiewicz
The HB clubs fair: the Atrium, loud and full of students clamoring for each other’s attention. “If you sign up for my club, you can take two pieces of candy!” they shout, turning to the age-old incentive of food. At first glance, one might think, “Wow, HB certainly has an inestimable number of student-run organizations.” However, by winter, or even late fall, the excitement of the new school year has died down and a great number of these clubs seem to have disappeared. The plethora of interesting clubs at the clubs fair has vanished, leaving only a few clubs sending out semi-regular school-wide emails. This phenomenon can leave students, such as myself, with many questions. What happened to the 30 clubs I signed up for? And why did I bother to write down my email address so many times if only half of them ever emailed me?
The guidelines for establishing a club state that all clubs must hold meetings at least 4 times per year. However, not all clubs end up meeting that frequently. Junior Margaret Broihier complains, “I signed up for a lot of clubs at the clubs fair, and I was very excited to be a part of them, but only 2 or 3 of them ever emailed me about any meetings”. This seems to be a widespread phenomenon, so I spoke to a few different people to get their opinions on why this occurs. Not surprisingly, there was a wide range of answers. Among those who had never started a club, the predominant opinion seemed to be that many club presidents had formed clubs solely for the sake of being able to say that they were president of a club. That is to say, they took the slightly cynical viewpoint that founding a club is just something to put on a college application. Overall, they seemed to blame any paucity of meetings on the fact that club leaders did not have much actual interest in running their club.
While this certainly might be true in some cases, a few students to whom I spoke saw the situation as more nuanced. They expressed the belief that when a club doesn’t meet very often, it is usually unavoidable and unintentional. I would tend to agree with that. After all, almost everyone at HB is very busy, and sometimes things come up that are just important than holding a meeting of a club. Homework, tests, sports, and other commitments can all come together to stop any hint of club organizing in its tracks. Moreover, the people who are often the busiest are often the ones who feel the need to take on the additional work of starting or running their own club. This, then, does not reflect poorly on the club leader, but is just a fact of life in a school as full of activities as HB. As sophomore Isha Lele put it, “Well, literally everyone does so many things, so I’m surprised anyone has time to start a club!”
When I saw the clubs list for this upcoming school year, I was surprised to see that the number of clubs has gotten even larger, to 51 clubs. Personally, while I don’t plan on signing up for every single one of then, I have the hope that all of these clubs will meet quite often; it certainly seems like an interesting array of offerings. However, I do come into this year’s season of clubs with slightly more realistic expectations, namely that each club will most probably not be holding meetings every month.
Image Credit: http://www.mellis.suffolk.sch.uk/suffolk/primary/mellis/web/schoolclubs.jpg?width=640&height=480&scale=LIMIT_MAXSIZE