Webb club leaders juggle a surplus of commitments after quarter one

Ada+Liu+%28%E2%80%9824%29+recites+an+original+poem+at+the+Bookworm+Club%E2%80%99s+poetry+reading+event+during+Wednesday+long+lunch.+The+other+club+members+raise+their+phones%2C+flashlights+turned+on%2C+to+create+a+solemn+but+encouraging+ambience+as+they+absorb+the+words+of+her+poem.++

Taya Sibichenkova ('24)

Ada Liu (‘24) recites an original poem at the Bookworm Club’s poetry reading event during Wednesday long lunch. The other club members raise their phones, flashlights turned on, to create a solemn but encouraging ambience as they absorb the words of her poem.

The first quarter of the 2021-2022 school year is officially over, and Webb students are undoubtedly thinking about their grades and how to perform better in classes, sports, and afternoon activities. However, many students must also commit to one or several clubs. But how are students able to balance the responsibility of maintaining a club in addition to the pressure of academics, sports, and other activities?

First, let us take a look at how clubs are formed at Webb.

“At the beginning of the year, I give the entire community a heads up that we’re going to have a club fair,” said Ken Rosenfeld, Dean of Campus Life. “There is a club application that is posted, and anyone who is looking to form a new club is going to need to fill out this application.”

If a student has an idea for a new club or wants to confirm the status of a returning club, they must consider several club requirements: having at least two club leaders, a designated club advisor, a logo, several planned activities for the school year, and finally a club mission statement.

For all other students looking to join a club that suits their interests, they can come to the annual club fair, an exhibit for all of the approved clubs that gives students the opportunity to sign up for as many clubs as they wish.

This year, there are a vast variety of clubs at Webb, both new and returning. In the past, Webb has seen a large number of running clubs per school year, with this year being no exception — Webb currently has 77 active clubs. These include several culture-based clubs, such as Chinese Culture Club and Latinx Culture Club, as well as craft-focused clubs, like the Photography Club and Knitting Club. There are also academic clubs, such as the Math club, which offers tutoring four nights a week during math labs (in case you ever need help with math homework)!

With so many clubs to explore, Webb students may sometimes feel overwhelmed, and be forced to choose between club meetings happening simultaneously. Club meetings are typically held during lunch, taking socializing time away from students and club leaders.

Sydney Becker (‘24), president of the Photography Club, says that one of the main difficulties her club has faced is finding meeting times that avoid coinciding with other clubs, as well as finding a convenient meeting location.

Despite being an experienced club member and leader, even Charlie Sun (‘22), president of the Piano Club, agrees that this is a common issue.

Some popular locations to host initial club meetings have been Centennial Field or a classroom in the Fawcett Library. These places have generally worked well for club leaders and students alike, as they are well-known and easily accessible from the lower main campus area.

However, the location alone does not encourage more students to come to meetings.

“Communication is key to getting more engagement,” said Arthur Lu (‘24), Vice President of the Architecture and Modeling Club.

Students must be passionate about the club’s focus and be willing to take time out of their schedules to commit to the club.

Club leaders have started to notice some inconsistencies, however, with the type of students that tend to show up to meetings and events. Sydney says that in addition to many of her close friends and people she knows via connections, more underclassmen have showed up to meetings than upperclassmen.

Charlie also added that even though he is generally happy with the engagement his club has received, he has noticed that in the past, typically only 10-20% of club members show up to a meeting or event. This seems to be the case across many clubs, and it is most likely a result of juniors and especially seniors simply having many more outside commitments.

“I’m an upperclassman, so college applications and senior year have been pretty tough,” Charlie said.

However, Mr. Rosenfeld believes that a club’s success really depends on its leaders.

“It’s all about balance and time management,” Mr. Rosenfeld said. “Certain club leaders have plates that are overly full and struggle to balance and manage everything, whereas other club leaders have taken a step back and looked at the big picture, and as a result have been able to manage all of their responsibilities effectively.”

This is not to say club leaders have not received any assistance from the Webb community. Club advisors oversee all club activities, as well as keep track of inactivity, and sometimes even help provide the necessary materials for club activities.

Club leaders have done their best to not just keep their club active, but also organize events to maximize attendance. In the end, club leaders are students too, and they understand better than anyone the struggle of having to choose between attending enjoyable club events and other commitments. Their dedication can be seen through the numerous successful events that clubs have hosted.

For example, the Architecture and Modeling Club has done a workshop where students had the opportunity to learn about the basics of architecture and create a model based on The Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. During the workshop, students enjoyed building the models, and even making creative pieces from the leftover materials afterwards.

The Piano Club also hosted an event during Wednesday flex time, discussing piano pieces and culture. Not to mention, clubs with similar focuses sometimes collaborate to host an all-Webb event, like the Friday Fun Night organized by Chinese Club, Go Club, and Mahjong Club together. Webb students can be sure to look forward to more of these kinds of events in the upcoming quarter.

Overall, the Webb club program has done a great job of bringing people together, seeing how many clubs with similar initiatives have either combined or collaborated with each other. Despite the challenges of coordinating meetings, planning events, and keeping students engaged in a club, Webb club leaders have persevered and kept their clubs as a priority on their list of duties, managing all of these challenges with the help and support of the Webb community.