Potential clubs face difficult approval process


Sam Klein/Sagamore Staff

The Club Fair, where clubs call out to prospective members by offering candy, baked goods and information about the club’s function, took place on Oct. 8. The high school has over 100 registered clubs and activities.

Jason Altshuler, Staff Writer

At the high school, new clubs are created every year. From fundraising organizations to sports teams or music groups, founding a club is a popular way for students to add an activity they are passionate about to their schedule. However, there can be road bumps in the process.

According to senior Salome Henry, who is involved in Amnesty International, lack of communication between different parties in the process and the students can lead to dysfunction, which forces students to take a strong initiative if they want their club to be established. Science teacher Elsbeth Leslie said that the first step of the process is finding an adviser. The fact that students can ask any teacher at the high school to be their adviser can be an obstacle, according to Dean Anthony Meyer.  

“I think that can be hard for students because faculty have all kinds of responsibilities and duties and are hesitant in some ways, but want to support the students,” Meyer said.

Once a student asks a faculty member to agree to advise their club, they must fill out an application form, Leslie said. According to freshman Isaiah Ives, these beginning steps are more difficult to complete.

“It was up to me how I was going to advertise the club, set meeting dates, the freshmen fair, but the hardest part was actually finding out how you start a club and finding the forms you need to do that,” Ives said.

Once the forms are located and filled out, they are sent to Student Council. According to Student Council member senior Ethan Kahn, it is the Council’s job to work through the proposals and decide which ones deserve to be approved.  Kahn said the limited connection between the Council and the students who filled out the form can create delays in the process.

“Since there’s not so much communication between the clubs and us, we don’t know that they submitted it, or they don’t know that we passed it, so then they can go a time without being approved,” Kahn said.

The application form lacks any request for email addresses or phone numbers, which can make it very hard for a club to be notified immediately that they have been approved.

“They never asked you for an email, they didn’t specifically have a good way of contacting you back, so you just send them the survey and they can’t really do anything because they didn’t make sure they could contact you,” Ives said.

According to Innovation Club founder junior Amir Siraj, Ives and Henry, their clubs simply started meeting without an official “OK.” Henry said the approval part of the system is excessive.

“The fact that I put in a request to get a club approved, and then have no response yet, I feel like that part is kind of unnecessary,” Henry said. “I think as soon as you have an adviser, enough people who are interested and a room for yourselves, that’s basically all you need.”

Ives said that navigating the club fair can also raise difficulties.

“I was squished between two very popular clubs, so all the people from those clubs were crowding out, blocking my club,” Ives said. “You don’t have much space.  There’s no real border or walls for each, so you have a table and maybe a cardboard wall, but there’s no border blocking each club from spilling into the new club’s exhibit.”

According to Siraj and senior Isabelle Dost, students have to contact the people who are in charge of the process many times until getting an answer on an application.

“No one tells you you forgot to get this form from the guidance office or you have to get this many signatures,” Siraj said.  “You have to, and this quality is really necessary for running a club as well: seek out and actively pursue what you want done.”

According to Siraj, you can’t depend on an adviser or other third party to run your club for you. Sophomore Rachel Selvin agreed that it is up to students to administer their own clubs.

“It’s about the students being able to do it themselves and to advocate for themselves,” Selvin said.  “To see they can make a difference in the world.”