All the clubs you’ll join: promoting clubs must be more accessible

The Editorial Board

Being a proud Titan and having school spirit is not just wearing blue and gold, but finding your place in the South community, Tomoki Imura, Student Body President, explained. 

For Imura, joining a club has allowed him to better connect to his school, helping him meet new people who share similar passions. Advisors, such as Lauren Gruber, South Librarian and the sponsor of Book Club, have also seen how non-athletic activities help establish a school culture. 

“Joining clubs enriches your time here at GBS,” Gruber said. “Clubs allow students to explore the many facets of their identities.”

Apart from just providing spaces for students to read similar books or participate in volunteer projects, clubs play a key role in community building. Whether it be dancing to K-pop music, playing bags, or taking part in public art displays, the 142 clubs and non-athletic activities at South provide a space for anyone and everyone no matter where their interests lie. And, for students who don’t see themselves represented in an existing organization, they can start one of their own and find their own niche. 

This is why the recent drop in club attendance has been so concerning, Mark Maranto, the Assistant Principal of Student Activities said.

Since the beginning of Covid-19 and two consecutive years of virtual student activity nights, club attendance has dipped across the board regardless of their size, Maranto explained.

“What I’m noticing is as the number of clubs have gone up, the number of students in each club have gone down,” Maranto noted. “We also have an issue for students that can’t find sponsors; teachers are working at their capacities and often can’t sponsor more than one club.”

The Oracle Editorial Board believes that clubs play an essential role in fostering an inclusive, spirited school community. In order to make sure that they can continue to play this vital role, a more proactive approach needs to be taken to promote clubs and celebrate their achievements. 

Previously, South has held assemblies to recognize various non-athletic activities, in addition to sports assemblies, which honor varsity athletes. By re-introducing this tradition, The Oracle Editorial Board believes we would be able to not only help share the accomplishments of our club offerings but increase school spirit. 

“We used to have it where one of the first freshmen assemblies was a club assembly to show everything we have to offer,” Maranto explained. “I would be very open to bringing it back. Now the challenge is we have so many [clubs], but I’m very open to the idea of club assemblies [for freshmen] to hear from actual students.”

Imura agreed that a club assembly could help boost club attendance, adding that even though clubs’ achievements are currently listed in the announcements, an in-person assembly offers a more meaningful chance to showcase the diversity of our clubs. 

“I don’t think we do a great job recognizing non-athletic, non-varsity sports, especially the Academic Bowl team, Debate Team, and Speech Team,” Imura said. “I know Academic Bowl won [a] regional [award], and all they got was [recognition on] the morning announcement.”

Reintroducing club assemblies is not the only option. The Oracle Editorial Board acknowledges the variety of resources already provided by the Student Activities Office (SAO) to help promote all our student clubs. The page on the GBS website, the activities cart in the SAO, and the touch-screens accessible in the hallway all list the student organizations, when they meet, and how new members can join. With a little more advertising of these existing resources, we believe that club attendance can be increased using the tools we already have.

Maranto, who has already been working on bringing more attention to clubs, also expressed support for exploring new ways to market non-athletic activities. 

“The newest thing that started last year was when we partnered with Advanced TV where they do the Glenbrook South Report,” Maranto said. “Every episode features two clubs or activities, and now they have included a commercial for a club. That was started in the pandemic, and we kept it going.”

In order to allow everyone to find their own niche, there needs to be accessible, celebrated communities to find. When we embrace our diverse interests and passions, our school spirit is at its strongest.