CRLS’ First Virtual Club Day A Success Despite Online Limitations

Azusa Lippit, Assistant Managing Editor

“You pop into a club, you see what’s going on, and then you go to another one that seems interesting,” Chess Club President Simeon Lichtenstein ’21 explained to his prospective club members over Zoom. “Don’t feel trapped by Chess Club, no matter how cool it is.”

Lichtenstein’s description excellently conveys the inherent buzz of CRLS’ first virtual Club Day. On October 15th and 16th, students had the opportunity to visit any of the 56 offered clubs through a unique online meeting link. In preparation, short videos made by each club were available to students in order to prioritize their stops once Club Day arrived. During a typical school year, students would mill around the media cafeteria, browsing informational posters and signing up for various email lists. Junior Anais Killian, who helped to organize virtual Club Day with the Student Government, expressed regret at the somewhat limiting circumstances for this year’s event, “There was no other way we could have done it. It isn’t nearly as good as it usually is, but it’s the best we could do, and we still wanted to have some sort of Club Day.”

Natasha Serfaty ’21, president and founder of Consent Workshops Club agreed, acknowledging some clear drawbacks. Serfaty explained, “If it were in-person, we could be like, ‘Hey you, come here, come learn about this super cool topic and join my club. I can bribe you with cookies!’ That’s usually what people do to get me to sign up for things.” She went on, “This year [students] have to choose for themselves, and I feel like freshmen especially are a lot more shy with everything online and it’s harder to get their attention and get them to talk.”

This is a less chaotic, more direct way to talk to people.

— Sophia Kolodney '21

Freshman Allison Korn, however, found that she was able to branch out and visit clubs that interested her, and even found herself overwhelmed by the options. “The hardest part so far is the timing and not being able to join every club that you’re interested in.” Korn was also grateful for the club membership form, a master spreadsheet sent to all students with sign-up lists for each club included, making it easy for students to sign up for clubs without even attending the respective Zoom meetings. 

Having attended several Club Days in the past, co-presidents of the Environmental Action Club, seniors Sophia Kolodney and Sophia Price were interested in seeing and comparing the outcomes of the new method. Price lamented the ease with which students would have been alerted to the clubs’ tables had they been in person: “[A]t lunch, most of the school is just walking around so they notice what’s going on.” Price went on, “Some people might not be reading their emails or even seeing that there is a Club Day, so we’re only getting certain people who are aware that this is happening.”

Kolodney, by contrast, noticed the uniquely undivided attention they were able to receive from students visiting their meeting. “This is a less chaotic, more direct way to talk to people,” she explained, “At Club Day [in person], everyone is trying to get their spiel out in two seconds, and a lot of people just put their email on the list, but half the people won’t end up coming, so this is a good way to get more committed members.”  

Enriched by such members, CRLS clubs will continue to demonstrate the resilience they displayed while recruiting members throughout the rest of the year.