Whether fashion or physics, politics or poetry, the Upper School has a club for just about every interest.
And on Wednesday, September 23, representatives from more than 60 clubs and performing arts groups took part in the School’s first Virtual Club Fair.
In a typical year, the event would be hosted outside or in Strayer Gym, with club tables set up for students to peruse. This year, the fair took place entirely on Zoom, with each club hosting its own meeting during which fellow students could learn more about the club. Student Activities Coordinator Joe DiDonato, who spearheaded the fair, shared that the students approached the event “with the same drive and anticipation virtually as they would in prior years when we were all together.”
In its planning for the 2020-2021 academic year, the School has highlighted the importance of continuing to provide students with a well-rounded Masters experience during periods of remote learning. That includes offering clubs, cocurriculars and athletics. Because of this, DiDonato noted, when students do return to in-person learning, “the clubs will be there running as strong as ever.”
Caleb Jakes ’22 is the co-president of Onyx, a club dedicated to discussing and celebrating Black culture. Jakes shared that the club’s new motto is to Embrace, Educate and Empower. He said that, although he missed the feeling of connecting with others during an in-person club fair, he enjoyed welcoming back returning members and talking with potential new members about the club. “We always look for new people to join,” Jakes said. He noted that, for now, Onyx will be meeting twice per month and is planning ways to connect virtually. “We want other people who don’t usually come out to Onyx to join us and learn what it’s about,” he said. “We want more people on board.”
The co-chairs of EFFECT, the environmental sustainability club, also felt that, despite the limitations of a virtual gathering, they were able to get the message out about their club. “We had a lot of people come that were interested in learning about what we do and what our plans are for the year,” Jake Sloane ’21 said. Sloane’s co-chair, Anastasia Gorobets ’21, is an international student, and she noted that the club is aiming to be inclusive for students in different time zones, even when day students return to campus.
DiDonato shared that, as he was planning the fair, he was inspired by the students’ energy and excitement. “I am so very proud of all the kids here as they deliver a tremendous, upbeat attitude to the School every day, and as they navigate the ever-changing world,” he said. “Whether their club is service-related or just to gather as friends to watch a movie, the students go for it all with their might.”