Clubs Fair sparks passion and engagement after year of virtual events

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Grace Wu

Students flood the Quad during lunchtime, seeking the perfect club that interests them. “I think people like interacting with clubs more in person, and it’s a better way to get whatever your club’s purpose is out there and do real activities,” senior Keya Arora said.

Crowds of students gathered in the center of Carlmont, kindling old and new interests through exploring various club booths. This year, the annual Clubs Fair returned to its original in-person format in the Quad on Thursday during lunch.

Seventy-five clubs participated in Clubs Fair, leaving the Associated Student Body (ASB) to organize and disperse the clubs based on what they planned on doing during the event. Keya Arora, facilitator of ASB’s Clubs and Culture Commission, worked with her team to map out the logistics of the Clubs Fair.

As a senior, Arora has seen the results of both in-person and online events and mentioned the unique engagement from students during personal interactions with others.

“It’s a lot more crowded and hot, but in terms of the actual purpose of Clubs Fair, while the virtual one was nice, I think that people are more willing to join clubs when they can see the booths and stuff in person,” Arora said.

A year ago, to accommodate distance learning and COVID-19, Clubs Fair was virtual. ASB designated a week to highlight clubs using Instagram’s Stories feature. However, social media activity took away from the quality of in-person experiences.

Katherine Yu, a junior and the president of the Chinese Culture Club (CCC), noticed the difficulties presented by virtual events.

“Last year, I was also in CCC, and [it was difficult] getting people to participate or find out about the club, especially the freshmen from last year. If they don’t have Instagram or if they don’t look at the Canvas announcements, they just won’t know at all,” Yu said. “With Clubs Fair, [ASB] usually gets about half the school to come and interact, so it really does make a big difference.”

Furthermore, going to a club’s first meeting might be a bit daunting for some students, but signing up at a club’s table or buying food from them could appear less intimidating.

CCC was one of the booths that attracted the most visitors from selling bubble tea and popcorn chicken. Students lined up to purchase the snacks, giving the club more publicity and engagement.

“We were definitely really excited about it; I think we underestimated how much we would need, so we didn’t buy that much, and we sold out really fast,” Yu said. “It was really nice getting more publicity because CCC usually doesn’t do a lot of very attention-grabbing things, so I think Clubs Fair is a good place to shine.”

Naturally, selling food brought up concerns about COVID-19. The Clubs and Culture Commission assured the students’ general safety by implementing precautionary measures.

“As long as everyone was wearing a mask outside, it wasn’t too big of a deal. The main thing we had to make sure was that all the food that was sold was individually wrapped,” Arora said. “Another thing was we had to make sure that everyone selling food was wearing gloves.”

Despite the possible worries about the pandemic, this year’s Clubs Fair was a successful kickoff and showcase of Carlmont’s wide range of opportunities for students to flourish in their own way.

It’s a real high school experience, something you’ll remember, where you get to meet a lot of people.”

— Katherine Yu

“It was really exciting seeing all the different types of types of clubs together,” said Colin Zhang, a sophomore. “I saw a lot of service and environmental clubs, which I thought were really interesting and signed up for.”

Zhang is a new student at Carlmont and was impressed by the extensive amount of options offered at the school.

“At first, I thought, ‘Wow, there’s so many clubs.’ It spread across the entire campus, so as I was walking through, there were a lot of people,” Zhang said. “I thought there was a lot of variety [in clubs], which was very nice.”

Given the number of clubs, there’s a group for almost any interest or passion a student might have. At Clubs Fair, each club is spotlighted in the school-wide event, creating a memorable experience for all students.

“Even if I wasn’t selling at Clubs Fair, I think the image of all of the people there is a nice side. It’s a real high school experience, something you’ll remember, where you get to meet a lot of people,” Yu said.