Lesser known clubs find their purpose

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Lesser known clubs find their purpose

Senior Kirk Hoffman leads a discussion on the upcoming Energy Slam during a meeting of Earth Action Club.

Senior Kirk Hoffman leads a discussion on the upcoming Energy Slam during a meeting of Earth Action Club.

Paul Szmanda

Senior Kirk Hoffman leads a discussion on the upcoming Energy Slam during a meeting of Earth Action Club.

Paul Szmanda

Paul Szmanda

Senior Kirk Hoffman leads a discussion on the upcoming Energy Slam during a meeting of Earth Action Club.

With all the different club opportunities at DGS, it can be difficult for new clubs or even small existing clubs to get off the ground and attract enough members to thrive. Many such minor clubs have gone extinct as a result, while others try to adapt to keep their group going.

Earth Action Club

Earth Action Club is a group of environmentally conscientious students who organize the Energy Slam for the science classes at the end of every school year. The usual club meeting consists of preparations for the slam.

Senior Grace Curry believes that though many people might not know what the club does, the slam allows for students to learn more about present-day environmental issues. “The goal is to educate people and have discussions about the environment,” Curry said.

Currently, the group mostly consists of seniors, but Curry believes that the club will be able to live on after they have left. She sees interest among underclassmen who want to be more involved in helping spread awareness about the state of the environment, whether that’s through a club like Earth Action or another science-oriented club.

“I definitely think that there are people in our school who care and want to see more, and I also hope that in the future [the club will] do more personal things to get people involved in environmental science,” Curry said.

Bicycling Club

Bicycling Club was first organized two years ago, and it became an official club last autumn. Junior Joshua Hyman got the idea to start a biking club from other students who shared his interest in the sport. Today, the group averages six members and meets regularly to discuss their progress which they track using the cycling app Strava.

At present sophomore club co-sponsor Logan Henderson feels that it’s difficult attracting new members to the club because of the limits on what activities they can do. “The problem right now is, since we can’t actually ride with the school, it’s hard to get people interested,” Henderson said.

Social studies teacher and club sponsor Motti Pikelny explained that the group can’t lead official club rides due to liability issues which arise from the fact that they are not an official IHSA sport. “There are safety considerations that are taken care of in official sports that are sanctioned by the IHSA that the school, as a club, isn’t interested in pursuing, and cycling doesn’t exist as an IHSA sport yet,” Pikelny said.

Though bicycling has been experiencing a rise in popularity across the country, school biking clubs remain too small to become competitive. “There’s not much they can do at a meeting other than just sit and listen unless they actually want to go out on a ride and get in touch with us,” Hyman said.

In the future the sponsors wish to invite local cycling experts, like Andy from RTT Cycling, to give tutorials and demos for the club. Although it may not classify as an official sport despite being an athletics-oriented group, Bicycling Club hopes to attract new members by expanding the opportunities that it can provide.

Video-Editing Club

Video-Editing Club began a couple of years ago. Students may know their work from the numerous Mustang Way videos that they have produced throughout the year. Currently, they are working on a documentary detailing the underground tunnels at DGS. The club started off with around 20 members, but its numbers have since reduced to about five, with senior Stephen Magnusson being the club’s leader.

Although Magnusson will be graduating this year, teacher sponsor Christopher Rios believes that the club will be able to continue on due to a demand for fun videos from by the student body. “There’s a lot of different things going on in the school that people would like videos made for,” Rios said.

Going forward, the club hopes to attract more members by creating a greater variety of videos as well as the subject matter of those videos. “We’re hoping to expand that more to include students and the different interesting things that students are doing,” Rios said.

Marine Life Club

Marine Life Club is a now-extinct club. At meetings members would present about different sea creatures and bring awareness to the effects that humans are having on the marine environment.

Teacher sponsor Laura Rodey said she was approached by students who said they wanted to form a club focused on marine life and who needed a teacher to sponsor them. Rodey said she had feared the club would go extinct in the coming year due to the fact that all of the members were seniors.

“They were all graduating, so I told them ‘if you want this to keep going, you have to get younger people excited and involved,’” Rodey said. She said she felt as though the members could have been doing more to entice new members. “Without that, there’s just no way the momentum is going to continue,” Rodey said.

This year, the club never picked, for all the club members had graduated and there hadn’t been any underclassmen members to take up the reins.

Writing Club

Writing club was formed two years and lasted for about three months. Now-junior Colin Dodd organized the club with the goal of creating an environment in which people interested in creative writing could meet and share ideas.

Junior Alyssa Beamon was a member of Writing Club as a freshman and liked the idea of sharing with her friends what she was working on. “We’d all just be writing our own stuff, and sometimes we’d be showing each other what were working on or asking about advice like, ‘does this make sense?’ or ‘does this sound good?'” Beamon said. “Most of us just wrote our own personal stories for fun.”

A club needs a sort of clear purpose.”

— Laura Rodey

However, being run entirely by freshmen, the club struggled with coordinating meeting times as well as with recruiting new members. “Our plan was to print out small posters, just normal sheets of paper, and we slipped them under the doors of all the English classes and just hoped that the teacher would promote that the next day,” Beamon said.

Law Club

Law Club was first begun in 2017, but it sputtered during the 2018-19 school year. Social studies teacher and club sponsor Laura Rodey had been approached by numerous students saying they’d be interested in a law-related club. However, since no student volunteered to lead it, Rodey decided to spearhead the club herself.

She initially had high hopes for the club and planned to organize numerous activities but soon realized the challenge of leading a law club in which members have varying degrees of understanding of law.

“The pickle with Law Club is that I think a club needs a sort of clear purpose,” Rodey said. After a couple of meetings, she realized the difficulty of establishing a club direction without alienating either the lesser law-literate or the more law-literate.

“We found ourselves talking about law stuff, but we were doing it in a way that we were basically teaching law class in law club, and that doesn’t make sense either,” Rodey said.

Junior Andrew Musielak is a former member who would like to see Law Club revived. He believes it should be reorganized with a more specific focus. “Anyone who’s been through it before and new members should just spend a day sitting down and just figure out how it’s going to be run, because there is really no structure to it,” Musielak said.

Nonetheless, Rodey is determined to resurrect the club with a clear, redefined purpose. “I want to do something with it, I really do,” Rodey said. “Find what would it look like week to week and what would our direction be — what is our purpose.”

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