Following this year’s club introduction assembly, many students noted the large number of clubs meeting this year. This caused some unrest among Upper Schoolers when certain clubs conflicted, preventing students from attending every meeting that they were interested in. Additionally, some students observed the overlap of club material, which contributes to the problem of conflicts between clubs. WordsWorth set out to determine the extent of this issue among students and what Upper School leadership is doing to help every student have the opportunity to participate in the clubs they want.
In a survey sent out by WordsWorth this September, students were asked whether or not they felt that the quantity of clubs was too high. Responses were mixed, though the essence was the same. Whether students responded with a yes or a no, they agreed that clubs provided “plenty of opportunities to see what you like” and “something for everyone.” However, these positive comments were offset by many criticisms of the lunchtime club system. Much of the feedback included references to conflicting club schedules. One student said, “There are so many that it is hard to choose which to go to. A lot of times I want to go to [a few] different clubs, but they are on the same letter day as another club I attend, so I can’t go.” Regarding the purposes of different clubs, a respondent said, “I think there are too many clubs at MFS because most of them can be combined. For example, Ping Pong Club, Tabletop Games Club, and Chess Club could all meet at the Field House on the same day and there’s no need for them to be separate.” A final concern broached by students was the supposed tendency for clubs to misrepresent their purpose: “Some clubs don’t meet and discuss what the actual club is supposed to be about.” Other responses regarding this issue included comments speculating that some students start clubs “just to say they started” them and saying that some groups aren’t “really doing much except holding a title.”
Evidently, the issues surrounding the club system were substantial enough to begin discussing real solutions. Agenda Committee held an extensive discussion on this topic on October 3. The clerks asked students to define the “ideal club.” According to students, an “ideal club” would be inclusive, organized, an open social space, and productive. In order for all clubs to achieve this ideal, committee members had many suggestions of methods of encouraging clubs to legitimize. By taking attendance each meeting, clubs could hopefully create a consistent group of members, big or small, and could notify their members more easily if a meeting is cancelled. To keep tabs on club activity, Agenda members suggested creating a public log where clubs could write up summaries of each meeting. This would allow students to get a sense of the club before attending, and allow student government Clerks to check in on the clubs’ productivity. Additionally, monthly club reports at Agenda may become standard procedure. All of this will help Agenda Committee to assess the quality of each club. Agenda Committee may suggest that some clubs combine to cut down on conflicts; however if meetings remain productive, the club system is expected to stay unchanged.
As for what immediate changes will be made to help improve the accessibility of all clubs to students, neither school administration nor student government have any concrete solutions to the issues that have arisen. It is more than certain that this topic will be reopened in Agenda or Meeting for Business soon, and students are encouraged to attend Agenda meetings to share their thoughts.