Promoting and pursuing: Clubs prepare for the new year

September 16, 2014 — by Nidhi Jain and Carolyn Sun

Both old and new clubs are preparing for the massive Club Day event on Sept. 25. 

Hundreds of students crowd in the quad, waiting for their turn to scrawl their names on the sign-up sheets, straining to reach the last brownie. Club presidents yell from tabletops, public relations officers disseminate fliers and tempting treats and secretaries frantically try to prevent eager students from knocking over poster boards.

This is Club Day, one of the most popular lunches of the year.

Both old and new clubs are preparing for this massive event on Sept. 25. This year, ARK (Acts of Random Kindness) and WiSTEM (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) will join the fray.

Seniors Sameer Iyengar and Michael Ong founded ARK to further unite the school. As its name implies, the club plans to engage in “random acts of kindness.”

Prominent in many Bay Area high schools, ARK aims to make high school a better experience by conducting uplifting “ARK-tivities,” campaigns and projects. For example, inspired by the tradition at Redwood Middle School, it will give balloons and cards to people on their birthdays to let them know that they are appreciated.

“As we grow as a club, we’re going to try to branch out and hopefully reach every student in our school,” Iyengar said.

The club plans to collaborate with other community service clubs, including its sister club, Interact. It also aims to reach out to ARK clubs at other schools and attend their events before amassing resources to host its own fundraisers.

Unlike clubs like Interact, which tries to help alleviate world problems, ARK focuses on improving the school and “[making] everyone’s day a little brighter.” “Making our club seem different from other clubs was a challenge since we had to do something that hasn’t been done before, but luckily, ARK is pretty unique,” Iyengar said.

Although longtime clubs may seem to have an advantage in attracting members, they must still hard as new ones to increase the number of active members.

To improve her club, senior Sonal Pai, co-president of WiSTEM, worked with her fellow officers this summer to plan for the year.

With a branch in many high schools in the Bay Area, WiSTEM encourages women to pursue the male-dominated math and science fields.

“[Chen and I] thought of this idea last summer, and we actually made our Club Day poster before our club was even officialized,” Pai said. “I was motivated to start Wistem because I felt as though some girls were too shy to join other science clubs, and needed a real boost into STEM.”

Pai feels that the club grew tremendously during its first year, partially due to luck and mostly because of planning. Approximately 60 people attended WiSTEM’s first meeting last year.

Learning from last year’s experiences, Chen and Pai came up with a plan that they will follow at Club Day in order to attract members.

“[We will] have people add their friends on [the WiSTEM] Facebook [group] and have announcements in the office that [spread] the word,” Pai said.

In addition to planning for Club Day, the girls have formed a year-long schedule, which includes star-gazing nights, guest speakers and collaborating with similar clubs, such as the male-dominated App Dev Club. Despite the word “women” in the club name, Pai feels that the club does not have to be limited to female members.

Along with expanding the club, Pai plans to increase the number of participants in the STEM exposition at the end of the year, an event similar to a science fair where participants from WiSTEM clubs at Harker, Lynbrook and Monta Vista display science-related projects. In order to do so, club members will be given a secure schedule ahead of time and provided more time to prepare during club meetings.

Feeling confident about the upcoming year, Pai expects the club to be stronger overall.

I think this year will be really successful because of our new plans,” Pai said. “[Our goals] would probably be to have everyone participate in our exposition and present at least one current scientific article to the club during the year!”