For the Love of Clubs?

Hedy Gutfreund Editorials Editor Freshman year was rife with confusion, but what was even more confusing than glycolysis was deciding what to do with my clubs block. From the moment I stepped into Clubs Fair, I was both excited and utterly overwhelmed with the idea of a clubs block. Though some people got me to sign up for a particular club by giving free candy, the thing that confused me most was how all of these clubs could exist at the same time. I still have issues trying to decide which club to go to, but with new clubs created seemingly daily, it’s time to think about which clubs mean the most to us. Latin, when it comes down to it, is not that big of a school. Mr. Legendre recently informed me that thirty-five clubs meet during clubs block. So if we estimate that there are four hundred people in our student body and everyone is distributed evenly to a club, only twelve people would be at each club. (And that isn’t taking into account the nineteen clubs/organizations that have alternate meeting times.) Though this isn’t the case, obviously, it seems to demonstrate that maybe the clubs begin to compete too much. I still feel overwhelmed and stressed out trying to decide, essentially, between three of my friends who are all club leaders. Freshman Charlotte Rosenberg echoed the same feeling of being overwhelmed when she went to the clubs fair for her first time. “Clubs fair was pretty overwhelming, because there were so many people offering so many different things,” Charlotte recalls. “I ended up signing up for way more than I’m actually going to go to; I signed up for ten, and I’m probably going to end up regularly going to two or three.” It isn’t just Charlotte who signed up for more than she can handle. With the pressure of friends who have their passions in a certain club, how are we to choose whose club is superior. The answer? Sign up for everything. To get outside the Latin bubble, I asked Suzanne Warshell, a sophomore at Highland Park High School, how clubs work at her school. I wanted to know if her school has clubs that exist just so people can be the head of clubs. She responded, “There are definitely clubs that some people join just for college applications, but I really can’t think of a club that doesn’t have at least a few members that are in it for more legitimate reasons.” Since her school has almost five hundred students per grade, she recognizes that clubs are more essential for meeting people at Highland Park than at Latin. “Clubs are a really awesome way to meet people that share similar interests, particularly in such a big school,” she notes. Mr. Legendre is responsible for organizing Clubs Fair and seeing all clubs proposals. When I asked for his opinion on the issue, he says that the clubs “always start out with the best intentions, though interest tends to fade for some clubs.” He admits that there may be times where people just want to be the leader of a club, but he thinks that most people have a legitimate interest in the cause of their clubs. Moreover, he notes that many of the philanthropy clubs are formed out of a personal experience with said cause. However, I talked to one anonymous person who said that not all of the philanthropy clubs seem to be formed with a passion for the cause. He said that a student in his grade started a philanthropy club for which she does not actually understand the cause. That same anonymous source reported, “The rumor mill is full of whispers of a donut club in which students simply eat. Truth is, the head of such a popular club would probably be seen as possessing leadership skills and supposedly be accepted at a prestigious university.” He continues, “Of the myriad student groups presented at the clubs fair, only a handful meet regularly enough to get anything done, and fewer still remain at Latin after their club heads graduate.” That brings the question is clubs block is really enough time to get anything done. The most popular clubs generally have a time commitment outside of clubs block, and that’s how they’re able to be more productive. Another anonymous source agrees, saying, “The number of clubs has increased this year, and more and more, it seems student are more motivated by the prospect of having ‘club founder and head’ on their college apps than to the actual cause itself. I find this trend frustrating and troubling as many students no longer devote their time to the club and prove their leadership because they have already secured ‘founder’ or ‘head,’ degrading the club’s potential and purpose.” So is this “leadership” by leading a club really a commitment that shows colleges what a great person you are, or is it just a clever way to pad your application a small time commitment? When it comes down to it, we’re lucky enough to have fifty minutes devoted to clubs block. But how do we make the most of it? It’s up to the students to decide how to spend that valuable time. Clubs block gives us the freedom to make our own decisions on what to do with our free time, but I personally hope that students are able to explore their individual passions instead of thinking what colleges would prefer to see.]]>