Clubs Adapt to the Pandemic

Club and Affinity Group leaders are adapting, looking for new ways to create bonds and engage students virtually

Amidst the confusion since the start of the school year, extracurricular activities have not been forgotten. From the Polyglot to the juggling club, Poly intends to keep their clubs and affinity groups thriving. The only difference this year, however, is that most of these activities and meetings will be done virtually. 

Every Friday, there is about forty-five minutes allotted to club activities, and there is a separate slot of the same duration given to affinity groups. With most of these interactions taking place on Zoom, club leaders have expressed their concerns for bonding and efficiency. 

In particular, performing arts groups are frustrated with going online, for being physical is a defining aspect of their productivity. Senior Gauri Purohit, who is leading A cappella this year, said, “We had to hold auditions for A capella, and it’s quite challenging to hold them virtually because Zoom often lags. Rehearsals are also difficult since one of the most valuable aspects is being in each other’s physical presence and working off of each other’s voices, which isn’t possible over Zoom.”

Going online has also presented problems with retrieving the software at Poly that extracurricular activities have relied on in the past. More specifically, school publications are finding it difficult to proceed with their intended plans. 

The Poly Arts Journal, for instance, is preparing to put forth another journal this school year. Leading this initiative is senior Samarra Sankar, and she said, “Going online is definitely harder because we don’t have access to Poly’s publication center, so we’re working on getting software as of now. My biggest hope, however, is to have a really good turnout for submissions this year, or a great journal won’t be possible. I’m also hoping that some underclassmen will step up and join us because it is not as intimidating as it seems.” 

On the other hand, there are some clubs that have fared well with the transition. Senior Tyson Boynton, who co-leads the Trading Financial Markets/Economics club, said, “We weren’t planning on being in-person at all, and a lot of what we’re doing uses technology to effectively analyze the technicals and fundamentals of the financial markets. In this way, it’s actually helped our club thrive so far since we can share our screens to present certain topics over Zoom.” 

Yet, it seems that being in-person is still favorable over being virtual in order to encourage social interaction. Boynton said, “Even though the club is working fairly well over Zoom, we haven’t gotten to truly meet each other! So, it can be difficult to communicate in that way.” 

Similarly, affinity groups are trying to find ways to establish stronger bonding through the computer screen. These groups rely on enriching dialogue and intimacy, and going online has taken away this fundamental part of unity within these affinity groups.

Senior Talia Bieler, who is co-running Women’s Affinity, said, “Going virtual has made it more difficult to make stronger bonds with some of the younger or newer students, who may feel intimidated to participate virtually. Yet, it’s also enabled us to engage with the group in creative ways, such as through slideshows and videos. What’s great about meeting virtually is that anyone can tune in from anywhere!” 

Although clubs and affinity groups are still situating themselves in these new circumstances, there is no doubt that they are doing as much as they can to stay engaging. Since the start of the school year, Poly students have been grappling with creative ways to accomplish this, and it’s been a testament to the community’s dedication to making sure we make this school year as normal as possible.