Karely Molina Martinez staff writer
As more students return to campus, clubs are searching for ways to keep online and in-person members engaged during club meetings.
With the mix of hybrid students, club presidents who are planning on holding meetings for their clubs have found it “difficult.” Interact president Melina Rosen struggled to find a meeting time which would accommodate both members’ schedules.
“We are trying to decide how we are going to continue having meetings while some of us are in school and some of us are not in school. It’s kind of hard to navigate, that but we’re trying our best to stay as active in the community as possible,” Rosen said. “One of our best options is to just have meetings on the weekend, because it will be easier for participation I think.”
Planning meetings for both in-person and online meetings raised concerns for Rosen, but it didn’t stop her from creating ideas for future projects during the last few months of the school year.
“It definitely is a challenge to decide how we’re going to continue with the meetings either in person or at home, but it’s not really a challenge creating events because I love having new ideas for community service and I love making new plans for our in person activities. We’re already planning on doing a beach cleanup soon,” Rosen said.
While some club presidents are trying to figure out how to handle hybrid meetings, other club presidents have already started hosting both online and in-person meetings. Books for All club president and founder Manuela Torres held the club’s first hybrid meeting of the year on Wednesday.
“Since we knew that some people were going to be online and some people were going to be in person, it had to be hybrid. So we still did the Zoom and the people who were in person got to watch them from the screen and the people in the Zoom got to see the people from the class’s camera,” Torress said.
Though the club did face some minor challenges, Torres felt that holding the meeting and providing both a virtual and in-person experience was successful.
“I think it was hard to get everyone there. A lot of people had to do stuff during lunch while in person, but I think that it was good. I was happy that the people who were in person were able to come and it was easy for them to show up and join the meeting,” Torres said. “I thought it went really smoothly, being in-person and in Zoom. Sometimes it is hard to hear what they say in-person while you are in the Zoom meeting but I thought, other than that, it was really clear to see everyone. I thought it was an easy way to integrate both people at home and in person.”
Some clubs are not currently planning on holding any in-person meetings this year. Co-president of the Time to Talk club Simone Mejdizadeh is open to the idea of in-person meetings, though she is also comfortable with remote meetings for the rest of the school year.
“I don’t think in-person meetings will raise a lot of concerns as long as everyone follows COVID policies like social distancing and [wearing] masks. It would actually be nice to have in person meetings because we haven’t seen each other in so long,” Mejdizadeh said. “It would be nice to have in-person meetings, we just haven’t had the chance to talk about that yet. Online meetings are great so far, it’s not as if it would be in-person but it’s still something that I’m really grateful to be able to go to the Zoom meetings and talk to everyone.”
Though the club has not finalized any decisions yet, Mejdizadeh feels that holding meetings in person will provide a different experience for club members.
“I think [in-person meetings] will be very successful because I feel like the club has a lot to offer. If people could come in person, it’s a lot easier than doing it online, because it’s a private space and if people want to talk to a counselor separately or in a separate area from all other other kids, they can do that in person,” Mejdizadeh said. “So, I do think that it will be more successful, although online has been great, I think it will be terrific if that time were to come sometime soon.”
When holding meetings, some clubs do not feel that their club participation levels will be affected as a result of merging virtual and in-person meetings. President of Music club Miles Platt says he doesn’t, “think the type of medium that people are using is going to affect the participation of the people that want to participate.” Fortunate enough to have loyal club members being active throughout the year, Platt is eager to start in-person and online meetings in hope of including all possible members.
“I think it’s going to be interesting. I do think that being in person gives the benefit of having human interaction, but I always think that inclusivity and being open, no matter what people’s circumstances are. Whether they’re scared of getting COVID or they don’t trust the world to come back yet, I don’t think that anyone should be unaccommodating,” Platt said. “I think it’s better to adapt, and see the way that you can improve, with the stipulation that you’re met under, instead of [being like], ‘We can’t find a way to make it work.’ Like, it’s important to try to find a way to make it work.”