Adjusting to online school has been a nationwide task for many students, but not many think about the challenges of adjusting to virtual clubs. Clubs are a way for students to discover their interests, practice discipline, and develop time management skills.
Because of the pandemic, in-person club meetings have been temporarily stopped. The students have no other choice but to adjust to virtual clubs. Many clubs have to get creative to run things differently.
“Clubs this year are different because we can’t do what we normally do in Ecology Club, which is to clean up the school and do activities outside together,” said junior Parker Bracey.
Clubs that do activities around the school have had to figure out how to transfer to an online setting while keeping the students engaged and passionate.
Senior Elizabeth Eroshenko, who is a co-president of the Ecology Club, said, “We try to add short environmental news at the beginning to provide a short intro which they can read on their own. We are also planning on doing a meeting where we play kahoot to engage the members.”
Clubs are rethinking how to engage students while keeping the same priorities. Bracey, who is a member of the Ecology Club, said “The most creative way a club got everyone involved was by sending out links for volunteer opportunities that we could go do around Richmond.”
According to Bracey, she misses doing community service and helping the environment.
“I was excited to start community service again and was thankful for the links to point me in the right direction,” said Bracey.
Not being able to meet in person has been challenging for the Debate Team as well.
“I have noticed it is harder to get myself to participate in the virtual club meetings. Information on the upcoming events can be vague and the technical difficulties make it harder,” said junior Mary Dunn.
Despite the challenges, the club still continues to captivate many students. A positive of online Debate Team is the limitation of distractions in the classroom.
Having a decrease in distractions while learning increases the ability for students to concentrate..
“There are less conflicts within the meetings and less background noise,” said Dunn.
Another positive aspect of online clubs is the flexibility that comes with it.
To join a virtual club, you click a link which will take you to the club meeting, which makes clubs accessible.
Not being in person has made being on time easier since you are not physically showing up. “It is easier to be on time and maybe easier for others as well since it takes one click,” said Bracey.
“We have doubled our club membership from last year total. We had about 30 last year, with about 15 showing up every week to recycle. This year, we have a total of 60 members, with about 30 showing up to each meeting,” said Eroshenko.
Students who have busy schedules can adjust to virtual meetings. Virtual meetings are available on school computers and on phones.
“I attend more clubs this year since without Godwin soccer, I am able to join club meetings after school,” said Dunn.
Despite the advantages of having virtual meetings, students still agree in-person meetings would make clubs stronger.
According to Dunn, many aspects could be improved if clubs were to go back in person.
“I think club meetings would be stronger in person because it would be more interactive,” said Dunn.
In- person meetings would allow the students to be hands-on and cooperative. “In person club meetings would make the club stronger because there are more opportunities,” said Bracey.
Additionally, students are excited to meet more club members when club meetings potentially return to an in-person setting.
“I can’t wait to meet more people in the club besides my friends and practice debates in person,” said Dunn.
Despite the positives of online club meetings, students are looking forward to the future and the potential return to in-person meetings.