A popular topic of conversation for many Zags right now is centered around student clubs.
With most clubs being completely online, it eliminates some of the most enjoyable aspects of joining and being an active member of a club. The social interaction students gained, and the friends that were made are an integral part of the in-person experience.
As a student who helped run a club last year, I’m looking at fall 2020 as somewhat of a barren wasteland in comparison to last school year in terms of club opportunities. In my opinion, being in a club is almost not worth joining.
I know this might be a controversial statement, but I strongly believe the experience is greatly hindered by the fully online experience. Safety comes first and it is essential the student body as well as staff and faculty do not get sick, which is why the clubs are so greatly affected but sadly it almost entirely ruins the experience.
Being separated from students who have the same common interests as you detracts from the experience and, for me at least, joining clubs seems to have no value if you aren’t able to share this experience in person with other Zags.
I don’t believe the options for clubs should be eliminated entirely though, since some students may still be able to find great joy in a virtual club. These students should not be held back simply because there are people who don’t see the value in clubs this semester.
My concern is that many students feel the way I do about clubs this semester. The club fair this year was scarcely populated, and I believe this has to do with the fact that it was solely online, and many students did not feel the value in joining a club or “attending” weekly meetings on Zoom.
Many students are online all day or have at least one online class and are confined to their computer to sit on Zoom for the better part of their week. As a result, many of us feel mentally exhausted after spending just a few hours staring at a screen.
This factor plays heavily into the fact that I don’t believe clubs will work this semester, purely because students feel burnt out. The thought of logging back onto Zoom after potentially having spent up to eight hours of their day on their laptops ruins the experience.
Another problem with clubs is that the environment in of an in person meeting seemed so uplifting and inspiring with an active student body, but this year the lack of student interaction doesn’t do justice to the power that clubs have had in the past.
Clubs at GU are a welcoming and empowering part of the student body, and to introduce students to clubs at a point where their full potential cannot be expressed, only serves to stunt their allure and growth.
This pandemic is sadly likely going to cause the downfall of clubs this semester, but I hope it does not permanently affect them because of how any awesome social opportunities they provide and all the new skills they give you.
Clubs are not gone forever though and will eventually pop back into the GU community before we know it. But at least for right now they’re being put on ice and mostly set aside for the rest semester.