Club Committee Goes Virtual


The Clubs Program website groups student organizations into different categories for easy access.

“Want to sign up for our mailing list? You can take some candy if you do!” Students did not experience the chaos of having club members bribing students with food to lure them to their clubs at the Club Fair due to COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings. Instead, under the planning of the Clubs Committee, composed of Lower Mids, Upper Mids, and Seniors, clubs recreated this experience with virtual introductory meetings. Since last spring, the Clubs Committee, led by Ms. Nora Yasumura, director of student clubs and affinity groups, has worked to ensure a smooth transition to a virtual club experience.

To make clubs more accessible to students, the committee set up a clubs program page on the Hotchkiss Hub over the summer and created a video on how to utilize the resource. Each club designed its own Google Sites page on the website with information about the club, an introduction to the student leaders, and a place for students to sign up for the club’s mailing list. To reduce all-school emails, Ms. Yasumura has started merging club meeting notices into one daily email. 

One of the many clubs affected by the pandemic is St. Luke’s Society, the largest community service club on campus. Last spring, St. Luke’s held several virtual events; for example, they compiled videos of students reading their favorite children’s books to create a virtual “story hour” to share with local libraries and schools. Starting this fall, St. Luke’s programs will include virtual tutoring with students at local schools and libraries in tandem with other clubs such as the Society of Women in STEM, a quarantine food donations initiative with Students for Environmental Action (SEA), and online events for residents of Noble Horizons, a local retirement community in Salisbury. Annabel Wallace ’21, co-head of St. Luke’s, said, “[St. Luke’s] wants to build on the momentum this year, expanding online offerings and doing the most we can to address the community’s needs.”

Many students are optimistic about the virtual club activities. Naima Johnson ’24 said, “Participating in clubs virtually definitely comes with restrictions, but there are a few benefits. For example, being in a virtual setting makes people who may be [more shy] or more reserved more comfortable with speaking up and participating.” 

Ms. Yasumura said, “The clubs committee has worked with club heads to think about innovative ways to adapt and continue to bring our community together. I can’t emphasize enough about how hard this is to do. I continue to be in awe of what the Hotchkiss students are capable of.” 

As quarantine ends, there will continue to be new opportunities for club discussions, service activities, movie screenings, and more. For more information about future club activities, visit the clubs program page on the Hotchkiss Hub.