Clubs ‘Kick Off’ In-Person after a Year of Being Virtual

After a year and a half of having online club meetings, during Club Kickoff, students gathered in front of the tables as participating clubs advertised themselves to interested members on Sept. 22 and 24.

According to ASB club commissioner and senior Shaun Baek, clubs were assigned randomly through the new two-day process to help students have the chance to view all 163 clubs. This year, club memberships are expected to be on the rise as Club Kickoff returns to being an in-person event.

“I feel like overall, people will be, compared to last year, wanting to join clubs more, because you’re actually physically at school,” Baek said. “There will be a lot more people involved in clubs this year than last year, just because last year, and two years ago, we had a max of 130 clubs, but this time we have a max of 163 clubs, so I feel like more people will be participating.”

For many students, Club Kickoff was an opportunity for them to explore their various interests, according to freshman Aditi Salunkhe.

“For incoming freshmen, it was definitely very beneficial,” Salunkhe said. “We have to take our four core classes. Clubs are a way to expand on our own interests, and it would be boring if we could only do our four subjects. Clubs provide an opportunity for us to get to know what we are interested in.”

There were many clubs participating in this year’s Club Kickoff, both new and returning, from Dear Asian Youth to Model United Nations.

Co-presidents and juniors Angela Xu and Jenny Zhang started a chapter of Dear Asian Youth, a youth-led global organization that promotes intersectional activism and equality within the Asian community.

“This was a great way to promote our club, and it is the main way we gain people,” Zhang said. “We got around 40 people to join.”

Last year, Club Kickoff was held in a virtual format, which made it difficult for freshmen to join and communicate with clubs they were interested in, according to MUN club president and senior Adam Mabsout.

“I think that you’re gonna have a lot of people this year who maybe want to get out of their bubble, get out of their comfort zone,” Mabsout said. “The pandemic has put a lot of people inside, and they made people feel like they need an outlet to grow.”