Numerous new club applications lead to changed interview processes

October 15, 2018 — by Christine Zhang
Photo by Alan Zu

Military History Club, a newly approved club, displays its poster at the Club Fair on Sept. 26.

Club commisioners want to promote clubs that bring students with similar passions together by allowing multiple interview opportunities.

This year, the two clubs commissioners, seniors Samyu Iyer and Cameron Lin, said they reviewed 24 new club applications prior to Club Day, which occurred Sept. 26 and Sept. 27, and they are still receiving more.

To accommodate all the new club applicants, Iyer and Lin had to schedule interviews on the weekends, whereas in the past, clubs commissioners were able to fit all of their new club interviews into the school day.

The pair initially arranged interviews to occur during tutorials, but they were running out of time. Each interview took them about 15 minutes.

“It was coming to the point where every single tutorial was getting washed out for interviews,” Iyer said. “As seniors, we still want to go to the college presentations and talk to teachers.”

Iyer and Lin decided to interview all their new club applicants on two consecutive weekends in September to free up their time during school.

Iyer said that she was not surprised by the huge influx of new club applications this year. Out of the applications they received, there was only one that was carried over from last year.

“I know that there are a lot of people who have wanted to start a club,” Iyer said. “Club Day was an incentive for them to actually do it.”

This year, Iyer said that there are currently 68 established clubs, while last year there were 65.

Iyer said that she hopes students are driven to start clubs by their passions, no matter how many people they can attract with it. When students find others on campus that share their passion, they want to create a place to meet, discuss and foster their interests together.

She acknowledged that some students may have ulterior motives in starting clubs, such as to gain a leadership position to write on college applications, but she said that the students’ true intent is often clear in their applications.

“[Students’ actual motives] also really do reflect in our interviews of them, and [we can tell] who’s really passionate about their cause,” Iyer said.

When an applicant is rejected, Iyer and Lin give them a few things that they want to see improved, and the applicant is invited to re-apply. This process can be repeated several times, but if the applicant truly does care about starting their club, then it is likely that they will eventually be accepted, Iyer said. Clubs can be approved any time during the school year.

Iyer said that although the clubs commissioners received a noticeably large number of applications this year, they did not reject more clubs than they would have if there had been fewer applications. In fact, they approved 14 out of the 24 applications and rejected 10.

Iyer and Lin only compare new club applications to existing ones when they are very similar to each other. The application is then likely to be rejected because the commissioners do not want too much overlap between clubs.

However, if an applicant presents a club with a unique goal, strong leadership and a sustainable model for the entire school year, Iyer said that she sees no reason not to approve the club. The number of existing clubs is not taken into account when reviewing applications.

“We take it on a club-by-club basis,” Iyer said. “We don’t really look at it that much as a broad picture.”

Recently, sophomore Aileen Liao successfully re-started UNICEF Club, affiliated with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, with sophomore officers Danielle Moon, Katie Chen and Kaushik Jasti. Liao founded the club without knowledge of a previous club of the same name, which was discontinued in the spring of 2017.

The club focuses on improving children’s lives through educating, volunteering and fundraising. Liao said that she wanted to establish a club that revolved around helping children.

“This is a youth helping youth mentality,” Liao said. “Hopefully, it has more impact and is more meaningful for both sides.”

Liao first applied for the club last spring and re-applied several times before it was accepted. The clubs commissioners sent her a message approving her club a few days before Club Day.

“When I got it, it was like all the work paid off,” Liao said. “I was so excited to tell my officers. It boosted their morale.”

Iyer said that if students have something that they are genuinely passionate about, they should not be afraid to apply and try to start a club.

“We just want to see people doing what they like to do with other people that like to do it,” Iyer said.