The University’s new COVID-19 protocols, which says that clubs must function virtually until Oct. 20, raises questions about club involvement on campus. Are students more or less inclined to join a club if all meetings are held virtually via Zoom meetings? The Outlook editors reflected on this question.
Many editors point out the difficulty of meeting virtually. “I think it is difficult for members to collaborate well over Zoom,” one editor pointed out. “I am always afraid I am going to talk over or interrupt someone else, so I am hesitant to speak up on Zoom.”
Another editor agreed, “I do not like virtual club meetings because I do not feel like I am as connected or involved when it is virtual.” However, this editor said that they will attend virtual meetings if it is the only option being offered, in order to stay involved on campus.
“I am a little ambivalent towards virtual club meetings since I do enjoy in person contact,” another editor shared. “Although hosting virtual club meetings is safer, I feel more united in a room full of people.”
The editorial board has mixed opinions on the new protocols regarding club meetings.
One editor said, “I do not agree with the University’s protocols to shift clubs to online. I think it is counterintuitive since most of the cases formed in residences.”
However, another editor agreed with the University’s decision, because they believe it is the safest option. The editor said, “Students need to be keeping their distance from others and clubs should not have the ability to meet in person for everyone’s safety.”
“If we stayed in person cases would have increased even more,” another editor concurred.
Most editors said that they are less likely to join a club this semester if they only hold virtual meetings, but this may also depend on each student’s class year.
For example, one editor said that they are less likely to join a club this year as senior, because, “I am already involved in the ones I want to be and because of the virtual meetings.”
Another editor agreed, “This is my last semester of school, so I am pretty reluctant to join any new clubs, especially since they are all virtual.” However, this editor believes that clubs should continue to implement some virtual meetings, as it allows more students to join and participate with their busy schedules.
One editor said that they feel less inclined to join a new club because virtual meetings restrict students from making friends and forming direct bonds with the club.
Another editor agreed, saying that they are, “Less likely [to join] because I feel like I won’t get the full [club] experience. It really is so sad how the pandemic ruined that for us.”
Clubs, organizations, and student involvement are significant aspects of the college experience. Club meetings are a great way to meet new people with similar majors and interests. If students are less likely to join virtual clubs, it may have a negative effect on their college experience. However, underclassmen may be more willing to join virtual club meetings than seniors who may already have established an executive role in a particular club.
Even if students are reluctant to join a club that gathers through Zoom, online meetings still have their advantages. Students with busy schedules may find that it is easier to attend an online meeting rather than driving to campus to sit in a classroom.
Generally, the editorial team would like to see in-person club meetings return this semester. For now, clubs and organizations may have to put more effort into increasing student involvement—not only to ensure that their club thrives, but also to foster a rich college experience during the pandemic.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University