Quarantine clubs

by Siya Patel, Features Editor
graphic illustration by Julie Wang

South Asian Student Association

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) ended their year anticlimactically, with a video instead of their usual live performance. SASA president senior Ritika Dudani said she’s most disappointed that the work the club members put in choreographing and rehearsing their performance is going to waste.

Dudani said the club is missing opportunities to perform at events including Lexington High School’s and South’s Asian nights and Tertulia. 

“Coming together and organizing all these events was a big thing this year. We’d always have [a chance] to honor all of the Asian students at school and our culture — now that’s gone,” she said. “It’s just not going to happen this year, and it’s really hard to express our culture and appreciate our traditions.”

Although the group has struggled to stay connected through Zoom calls and Facebook, Dudani said she’s proud of the club’s accomplishments.

“This group has provided not only me, but a lot of other students with support as the only South Asian community at school,” she said. “We have our backs, and everyone’s there to support each other.”

Linguistics Club

Despite quarantine, the Linguistics club has seen an increase in attendance.

Junior Dylan Dincer said he has not noticed a significant change in the club’s activities. 

“The Linguistics club has managed to keep together pretty well because we have online meetings now on Zoom. Prior to the coronavirus, we would generally watch some videos and talk,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing now, so it’s pretty static.” 

Dincer said, however, that certain club activities, such as puzzles, are impossible to complete without being physically together.

Club president junior Matan Kruskal said the digital platform has made having in-depth conversations more difficult.

 “Linguistics is a very complicated field, and it’s something that most high schoolers aren’t very familiar with, so it’s easy when you’re not talking about it in person to get a little bit confused and misunderstand somebody,” he said.

Kruskal said he is glad that virtual meetings have made meetings easier and have increased participation.

“More people are able to come because the clubs are more spread out instead of all being during J block,” he said. “I can pull up a page and share my screen without everybody having to crowd around one computer.”

Habitat for Humanity

President junior Sara Saloum said Habitat is a very hands-on club, resulting in a challenging shift to virtual activities.

“It’s a lot of fundraising, and that’s a lot harder when everybody has to stay home and can’t interact with each other,” she said. “We haven’t really dealt with it or moved onto online platforms, and it’s just completely affected the way that we run our activity.”

Saloum said she misses having physical meetings where everyone wants to be there to support the same goal.  

“It’s always really nice to see those people and connect with [people] who are passionate about the same cause as you and who want to be there to help out with the same causes like building homes,” she said.

Sophomore member Anjali Rampartap said this time away from school might help the club plan for next year’s endeavors.

“This quarantine gives them more time to plan out for a better year next year,” she said. “I’m pretty sure we’re going to do a lot more things next year to make up for everything that’s happening.”

Gender and Sexuality Awareness

Though Pride month began June 1, the GSA has struggled to connect and celebrate,  co-president sophomore Jordan Smith-Michaels said.

“We haven’t had much face-to-face,” she said.

Co-president sophomore Sage Widder said it’s hard for the GSA to meet in a home environment because some members don’t feel comfortable participating around their families. 

“Some people are not out to their families, so they’re worried about having meetings with other people in the GSA and their parents finding out about their identities that they maybe haven’t shared yet,” she said.

Widder said she misses the natural rapport at club meetings.

“It was a smallish group of people, and we would just talk about what was going on in our lives, and also LGBT issues,” she said. “Sometimes we had a specific topic that we would talk about as a group where we do a small presentation, so it’s different not to be able to see everyone in that setting.”

Art Club

In the absence of weekly meetings, Art Club has stayed connected through Gmail and Instagram. 

President junior Dina Kats said the leaders have sent out emails with art prompts and have begun sharing members’ artwork on the club’s new Instagram, @nshs.art.club.

“We’ve been posting to boost some creativity and inspire other people to keep working on their art,” she said.

Kats said the energy of meeting in person cannot be replicated virtually.

“Being in that environment with a bunch of people who understand that same art process as you [and] also just listening to some cool music while we’re working is always a lot more fun,” she said.

Sophomore Heewon Chang said she misses having a set place to be creative and unwind.

“For me, [the art room] is more of a physical room where I can relax and just do art, but because of the lockdown, we don’t have the room available to us,” she said.

FEM Club

The Feminist Empowerment Movement (FEM) club has suspended their activities but remained connected. As their central event of the year, Empowerment Day, was canceled, FEM did their best to hold a similar day on social media. However, club member senior Rebecca Webb said that coordinating speakers and panels to host an online Empowerment Day made a full transition online difficult.

“We posted some pictures on our Instagram and we went live, but it took away from a big part of the day,” Webb said.

Vice president senior Adina Smith said the move online has meant a move away from the club’s social climate. 

“One of our favorite parts of the club is that we get to meet in person and have a face-to-face for people to say what’s on their mind and discuss their issues,” she said. “Having a physical space to congregate is definitely what makes that feel so welcoming for others.” 

Smith said the club leaders have reached out and offered support. 

“We have dealt [with COVID-19] by staying in touch with our club members and letting them know that even though we can’t see them in person altogether, we are definitely there for them,” she said. “They can … reach out anytime they need anything, whether they just want to talk about current event issues or discuss anything that’s on their mind.”