Clubs Transition to Online Meetings
The coronavirus has impacted the way Hopkins clubs and student-led activities run, causing most clubs to transition to an entirely online format.
Student Activities Coordinator Teresa Picarazzi explains, “Over 100 activities and clubs were proposed and accepted last Spring for the 2020-2021 school year!”
Although the Activities Fair was canceled, clubs are finding new ways to attract members. According to Picarazzi, “Many clubs are running! Most clubs will be virtual. We have asked all club heads (whether virtual or live), in consultation with their faculty adviser, to fill out a spreadsheet in which they list their contact, the day and time of their activity’s meeting, a Zoom room address, and a brief description of the activity. Unlike previous years, any activity that meets live must have a faculty adviser present. There is an evolving list of clubs that will meet live/hybrid. These include Yearbook, The Razor, Math Meets, Peaches, Community Service, and some music-related clubs.”
Most clubs switched to virtual meetings and are looking for ways to continue operating. Chair of Maroon Key Board Jacqueline “JJ” Drummond ‘22, describes her experience with online meetings, “Being online and all the safety precautions we have to abide to has definitely made some of our service projects a lot harder to plan and imagine. Although there are many things we can’t do this year, we have worked very hard as a board to come up with new ways to serve the community and achieve our goals for the year. Personally, I’ve found Zoom meetings to be very productive. Even though it’s not the same as meeting in person, we have all the resources we need right in front of us and can collaborate in an effective manner”.
Without an activities period, normally 12:30 - 1:30 on Wednesdays, clubs struggle to schedule meetings. Co-head of Amnesty International, Hopkins Chapter Kian Ahmadi ‘24 laments “Not having a designated activity period has made our schedule a little uncertain and has complicated planning. However, in response to these changes (no designated activity time), we have been surveying our members to find optimal meeting times for our group. Being online has made our club slightly more difficult in terms of meetings. Amnesty is an organization that does a lot of advocacy online, but club meetings over Zoom are complicated by the same issues that impact regular class.”
Clubs are finding it harder to meet now that meetings are online but hope that will change. Co-head of Science Bowl Joy Xu ‘23 speculates, “Now that not all clubs meet at the same time, we hope that more of our peers will be available to join us.” Finnbar Kiely ‘22, co-head of Model United Nations, agrees, “Not having an activities period has made it more difficult to schedule meetings, but it also presents some new opportunities. We are trying to create a flexible format for meetings, whereas, with the activities period, students with other commitments often had difficulty attending.”
Online competitions are allowing for more participants. Kiel explains, “In previous years, participation opportunities for Model UN have been limited to a handful of large conferences, which has made it difficult for many students to participate. Virtual conferences provide a unique opportunity, as we can include more students and create more chances for participation.” According to Xu, Science Bowl is experiencing increases in competitive opportunities, “We are participating in more online, official competitions this year to make up for in person practice, such as the Science Bowl League, a six-week-long showdown, over Discord.”
Other clubs that usually meet outside of school, on the weekends for activities or practices are finding ways to continue working. Drummond details, ‘So far, we’ve met every week instead of every other week for one hour after school. Along with that, we’ve split up a lot of tasks that we usually could get done in board meetings to individual out-of-meeting projects. I’ve found it is a more effective way to dedicate our meetings to discussions and planning, rather than executing our events or projects.’
Although Hopkins students are still unsure about how clubs will run in the spring, they hope to continue and while attracting new members. Picarazzi reminds us that “there is an Instagram account called Activities at Hopkins.” The account @hopkinsactivities is run by Student Council President Ella Zuse ‘21 and Milan Yorke ‘21.