New club policy limits growth

September 9, 2019 — by Esther Luan and Andy Chen

Starting this year, clubs are required to have 12 members attending each meeting, officers not included, along with the bimonthly advisor report. Compared to the previous requirement of eight members per meeting, this is a huge jump that will be difficult for many clubs to fulfill.

ASB club commissioners made the decision to tighten restrictions on clubs in order to enforce school rules regarding club maintenance. The problem is that this change could undercut newer, inexperienced clubs just as they are starting out.

As an example, the M-SET Robotics club, which was founded in 2010, originally had only 10 members actively participating throughout the year. These members, through their hard-earned achievements, inspired newer groups of students to join M-SET, and the club slowly grew to become the largest one on campus. Without the relatively lax rules at the time, M-SET’s growth may not have happened.

Sometimes clubs undergo years of trial and error with low membership numbers before figuring out how to effectively run, manage and promote. With the introduction of these rules, newer clubs may no longer have the leeway to experiment and discover what works best for them.

Reading strictly by the rule book, the newly implemented three-strikes system will endanger clubs that don’t usually meet the attendance requirement for meetings during school. For example, the robotics club, despite having over 100 active members, often only has five to 10 members show up during team meetings. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be cut, but it is technically not meeting the requirement. Compared to some other local high schools such as Lynbrook, SHS already has a relatively weak club culture, so these new changes will only serve to worsen club diversity and general club participation even further.

Last year, only one newly founded club, LEO, was truly successful, while many other clubs struggled and eventually died. Thus, increasing club restrictions is counterproductive in encouraging the school’s club growth, and doing so again this year will prove fatal to newer clubs. 

The reality of the situation is that the new changes are tightening an already unsuccessful policy. To resolve these issues, minimum attendance should be significantly lowered to around five to accommodate budding clubs. In addition, officers should be counted as club members, as they are often the most passionate and active participants.   

These more sensible reforms would nurture clubs instead of killing them, and should be implemented as soon as possible to maintain freedom and flexibility.