The New Club Policy
David Bustillos ’14
Traditionally SI clubs have had the freedom to do as they please, mostly choosing informal settings and opting to make attendance optional. Through the years, some clubs have remained stable; others lose members and disappear. Unfortunately, some students quickly beef up their college résumés by starting new temporary clubs designed to last only through the college admissions process. Accountability plays a major role in the whole mess. In the club handbook, moderators have a long-standing requirement to make sure that clubs take attendance and meet. Students should take advantage of clubs, make a commitment to their club, and actually do something in the club. In a classic example one student can be a “leader” in several clubs, fail to show up for his own meetings, never actually do anything, and proceed to fill his extracurricular list for colleges claiming leadership, even club presidency. Moderators have gotten lax about acting as the safeguard from mythical clubs; they need to take charge and make sure clubs actually meet and fulfill their purpose.
Recently, student council called a last minute mandatory meeting for all of the miscellaneous clubs that call SI home. The council proposed to streamline and restructure the club system; the proposal introduced new club policies designed to introduce more accountability about membership and activities.
Clubs needed to be monitored to prevent them from being mythical résumé boosters, and student council gave guidelines to presidents on how to publicize their clubs and run their meetings. They also told clubs to log their minutes of their meetings, though this concept lacked clarity. Some club presidents expressed their concern that no one likes meetings on top of meetings, especially for the sake of having another long boring meeting just to say you met. Micromanaging does not work well and only creates more work for club leaders and their members. True, some struggling clubs would benefit from extensive help when trying to make their club function. However, other clubs dislike the idea of constant check-ins. I believe people deserve the freedom to work in a way that suits them. The new policy would have been better addressed with an email or a short PDF detailing the new requirements for the well-established clubs. Only those from newer clubs or infrequently meeting clubs should have been required to attend; they are the ones in need of leadership training.
There were aspects of the meeting worthy of positive comment. Instead of hampering existing clubs with new restrictions, a more comprehensive club application process could weed out the “pretenders.”
Clubs, like the endless flurry of service organizations, could be consolidated since many die after a year. The idea of creating a student portal is a positive innovation. Students could sign up for clubs just as they do for classes, and their schedule would indicate their membership. This could replace the pathetic joke of a club fair that occurs every year and only serves to clutter inboxes and pump sugar into the student body. Freshman should be spared from the disappointment of becoming collateral damage to the club system. St. Ignatius needs to ask itself whether the purpose of its activities encourages students to do a few things passionately or many things half-assed. The end result of the new club policy should include the traditional freedom of student run organization, while ensuring their lasting existence.
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