Club Fair taken online presents problems for students

Chaos and Confusion ensues at Club Fair


Madison McGinty

This photo of Young Marine Sergeant Anessa Martinez giving an anti-bullying presentation for Seek to Inspire last year was used to advertise for the club this year. Instead of presentations like these, Seek to Inspire plans to give awareness presentations via Zoom or Google Meets in the near future. Seek to Inspire was one of many clubs who encountered technical difficulties during the virtual club fair held on September 8th, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM.

Leslie Tello and Janelle White

Instead of pulling out tables with bright taped-down poster boards in a bustling quad area during lunch period, the annual Club Fair was held in an alternative online setting. With a Google Spreadsheet filled with over 80 people on September 8th, students worked around in what was their new normal.

Out of the multitude of clubs offered on campus, only 13 had decided to set out Zoom and Google Meet links in order to recruit more members. According to club officers, many had not heard of the Club Fair until the day before. In a stressful time crunch, club officers waited patiently with their advisers, hoping for old members to reunite, and new members to fill their virtual meetings.

Sophomore Madeline Herdlein is the new vice president of the Dungeons and Dragons club offered on campus. Herdlein had to assume the position after the old officers graduated, taking the lead for the club alongside president junior Juan Neri. “My first meeting went relatively well! We had a couple of people who just joined and said nothing, but me and the president put on a good presentation. The two of us were a little unprepared, but we managed to push through it,” she states. Through the online system, the Dungeons and Dragons club was able to recruit two students. Looking hopeful for the future, Herdlein states, “We’ve done some online meetings already using discord! It’s not the same as meeting face to face and I definitely prefer in person meetings, but I think that the club was able to adapt well.”

Though some club officers had a seemingly easy experience, many other clubs were not so lucky to be in their position.

Senior Alyssa Cosico assumes many positions, rushing between meetings as Filipino Student Association Vice President, Mental Health Awareness Vice President, and Philharmonic Club President. She states that she was vaguely aware of the fair due to a video briefly mentioning it, but was not truly informed until the day before due to a google classroom post. “Given the circumstances, it was alright- not really better or worse than usual club fairs. For Mental Health, the link posted wasn’t working but luckily Fernanda, one of the other officers, was able to create another meeting that potential members could attend. For Philharmonic, there wasn’t a link or description posted which was a bit stressful but it is what it is. Overall, I felt a little unprepared because the last minute announcement put me in a bit of a frenzy.” Cosico continues, “I think it was an overall success from my point of view since people did get to learn about the clubs on campus. My highlight was vibing to Lemonade by Jeremy Passion during the FSA presentation.”

Senior Zachary Martin is the vice president for both the Philharmonics Club and Jags for Christ. He had found out about the fair from the google classroom post like his fellow club leader Cosico. Because of the Philharmonics Club’s lack of meeting, no one arrived. However, he states that four to five people were curious about Jags for Christ. He called the fair a “moderate success.” He believes that the fair is a precursor to a difficult year for all the clubs. “I think that it’s harder for people to do anything with clubs right now due to the fact that COVID is everywhere and we can’t do much of anything.”

Senior Fernanda Orellana is a secretary for Mental Health Awareness Club. Being pushed on to an online atmosphere, there were certainly problems that would arise. “Our Google Meet link wasn’t working, and we were trying to figure it out. It didn’t work, so we set up a Zoom at 1:46 and we only had a meeting for 15 minutes.” She continues to say, “Mrs. Faison wasn’t answering our emails, but I assume it’s because she’s an advisor for a whole bunch of clubs. I think we handled it well given the circumstances, but I definitely think it would’ve been easier and better on campus in real life. Through the hardships of the online meeting, the club was able to gain five new members.”

On the other hand, junior Emily Tan had decided not to show up to her meeting despite being the president for Krush. “I honestly didn’t really know about the Club Fair until very last minute from one of my members mentioning it… At the time it was too late.” She states, “For my dance club, we still want to be active this year. It may include virtual meetings where we share our interests or maybe make dance tutorials for our members… If we get a chance to be on campus we would be able to prepare dances and performances again, but probably small ones due to the lack of time.”

Senior and Key Club Vice President Diana Aguilar was in the same boat. “I kinda forgot about the club fair until today when a friend mentioned [the fair] so I went halfway through to see what was up. I was only able to attend one meeting and there weren’t any issues…” Despite the problems that clubs and prospective members may face in the future, she believes it was a positive overall starting point. Aguilar states, “It was a pretty good experience and informative for how this year is gonna work around the stay-at-home order. I think it was harder for individuals to join clubs due to the lack of clubs usually offered during a regular school year, and the inability for dance clubs and other hands-on groups to continue due to COVID.”

For those unable to attend, the google sheet is still being updated with new contact information regarding the clubs.

Club leaders were not the only ones who faced challenges; potential members encountered many hiccups along the way too. Freshman Alisa Rahja states, “It was a lot harder [to join clubs] because it wasn’t organised and it took longer to let students into the meetings.”

Junior Jake Prado agreed with the sentiment. “It was definitely harder, I couldn’t go see all of the clubs I wanted to see. They were either unavailable or I ran out of time to get to them.”

Freshman Kiara Escudero and junior Maria Rajha both had trouble with faulty links.

Freshman Aniya Makayla Torres stated that for her, it was easier due to the links, but she sees how it could be hard for others due to internet issues or joining late.

With the struggle of miscommunication and the unsolvable problems of technology, the 2020-2021 Club Fair was an uncertain success. As clubs seem to be getting off the ground with a shaky start, the future only holds what will come next.