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First virtual club sessions test the waters

Posted By Matt Savage On October 13, 2020 @ 5:04 pm In Arts & Style,Features,Top Stories | Comments Disabled

With fully online learning comes major changes for both leaders and members of clubs at Marshall. Far different from listening to morning announcements, students now have to check Instagram or Schoology to find information about clubs they are interested in.

History club president and senior Katherine Reback’s club held its first ever meeting virtually.

“We started the 2020 school year off with only me, the vice president and our sponsor,” Reback said. Now we are up to about 32 members. What has been interesting is learning how to advertise and get the word out about our club’s existence and meetings entirely via social media and teachers willing to add our slide to their class presentation. There are no bulletin boards in the stairwells for us to put posters any more, or morning announcements about interest meetings where there is food, which tends to be a big draw.”

Junior Visher Ramuni is a member of five clubs and said he has found the online process to be beneficial in terms of joining clubs.

“I feel like it has [been easier to join this year] because you can join groups and they’ll just post on their group about when they’re meeting,” Ramuni said.

Despite setbacks, Reback said the History Club is happy with their initial virtual turnout.

“Our club was authorized last winter, but because of [COVID-19] we never got to start anything,” Reback said. “We were actually scheduled to have our interest meeting on March 24, which obviously never happened. I have no idea how many members we might have if in-person.”

Ramuni said he believes club meetings have been different from what he experienced in his organizations in-person last year.

“They definitely feel different because of the environment we’re in due to online school,” Ramuni said. “Since [they take place] online, I can’t meet people in person and [I] still don’t know how some of the clubs will work without people being together.”

Reback said there are challenges to not being able to hold club meetings in-person.

“I would much prefer to be able to have meetings in person,” Reback said. “It’s just not possible to get the same kind of energy, enthusiasm, or community over a computer screen.”

Senior Anthony Miroff, who is an officer of three clubs and the co-president of the Debate Club, said he believes attendance has increased within his clubs but also thinks clubs can learn from the distance learning experience.

“I’d say [distance learning has] made it more difficult to get engagement with the format of Blackboard Collaborate where you can only see a few club members at a time,” Miroff said. “But, the ability to hold meetings outside the constraints of the school day and Learn has opened up meeting times that work better.”

Reback said her takeaway from her first club meeting was that she could relate to how teachers must feel during classes.

“I guess what we learned during the interest meeting is that it must be very difficult for the teachers to just talk to black squares and have no idea what the students’ reactions are,” Reback said.


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