Club reacts to closure

Some of the fundamentals of an active club include regular meetings and activities. Without the ability to meet in-person, though, clubs all over campus are being forced to find creative workarounds to continue fulfilling their purposes.

Some volunteer clubs are holding online events, allowing students to make a difference from home. 

In one such event, Key Club, Interact, UNICEF, Leo Club and NHS held a competition on, which donates 10 grains of rice for every trivia question participants answer. The member of each club that earns the most rice wins a $15 gift card, with the overall objective of the event being to raise 1 million grains of rice by Aug. 9. However, that goal was achieved within the first two days of the competition, which started on July 20.

“We initially expected we would reach 1 million by the end of the three weeks, but we were really surprised to see that we reached that goal in only two days,” UNICEF co-president rising junior Steven Tjandra said.

Although its plans for the school year are presently unclear, UNICEF hopes to continue holding online volunteering events and activities, with the goal of keeping members engaged despite a lack of in-person opportunities.

“One of the things that we’ve seen that’s sort of been a challenge has been translating online, more abstract volunteering such as this into volunteer hours,” Tjandra said. “People are really motivated by the sense of progress in gaining hours so we’re continuing to offer hours even for events such as this, the FreeRice event.”

The president of Key Club, rising junior Akash George, said that for the most part, events will be online, but that some opportunities will involve picking up and dropping off materials or donations.

“When these quick pickups take place, everyone will be masked and distanced,” George said via Messenger. “Key Club is a very social club, and the in-person interaction is a very vital part of that. We are still working on [replicating] this important aspect of our club.”

Competitive clubs like Robotics, on the other hand, are faced with a different set of challenges. Because many can’t be certain whether they’ll have a competition season or not, they have no choice but to prepare as they normally would. Robotics, whose activities are centered around participation in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics Competition, are still unsure whether they’ll be competing this year. However, the team is still training new members as usual.

“We might have a build season or it might be cancelled; we don’t know at this point unfortunately,” rising senior and co-captain Jacob Zhi said via Messenger. “We can’t really design any part of the robot without knowing the game modifications.”

Other clubs like Spanish Clubwill continue to meet, albeit online as their meetings aren’t tied to specific events or competitions. One of the club’s advisers, spanish teacher Charlotte Sorensen, is optimistic about the new format.

“I think that the attendees will find the meetings a turn of the dial from in person meetings, and a wonderful opportunity to try out some Hispanic traditions at home.  Some of these traditions haven’t lent themselves to in person meetings, but will be very possible to do at home,” Sorensen said via email.

One club that’s well-prepared to make the transition to online activities is eSports club. Because gaming has always been an online activity, participating in competitions and activities from home won’t be a problem for its members. However, as a member of a competitive league whose events are often in-person, some things, according to eSports club adviser Randy Thomas, remain uncertain.

“Last year, we were a member of the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) for interscholastic competitions. We have not received any updates from coordinators of that league. We do believe, that even during distance learning, we can continue to host online tournaments and participate in league competition,” Thomas said via email.

One club, Printedworks, is still holding in-person activities with all necessary precautions. In order to have space for social distancing, their workshops are being held in Spyder3D World, a store that belongs to one of the club’s advisers. There, club members must wear masks, maintain social distancing, check their temperatures before entering and sanitize their hands.

“Even though things are tough due to the school’s extended closure, we have been keeping ourselves busy by making social distancing signage (for example, the stickers on the floor at registration) and introducing new customizable products, like embroidered face masks.” Printedworks co-president and rising senior Caitlin Lee said via Messenger.