As lunch begins, American Sign Language club advisor Talia Orsetti-Ng opens up the Zoom call for the first club meeting of the school year. Although the content looks different from last years’ club meetings, one thing remains the same: the community.
For ASL Club and many clubs on campus, the transition to an online semester has proven to be a tough obstacle to overcome.
“Prioritizing the club becomes problematic and difficult, so because of that, the club can suffer a bit,” Orsetti-Ng said.
Another difficulty Orsetti-Ng said she found in hosting a club online has been the time constraints due to the new schedule.
“Simply for the fact that there is not enough time, that’s a huge issue right now,” Orsetti-Ng said. “Normally, I’d like to meet longer than just a few minutes at lunch.”
ASL club is not the only one to suffer. The Filmmakers Club appointed their new co-presidents, seniors Caeshia Suwitra and Hala Fathima, in the final months of 2020 before SCUSD went into distance learning. Suwitra and Fathima have had to adjust their club plans to fit distance learning requirements.
“Something we can do in isolation is just to have someone speak,” Suwitra said.
FMC has had only one meeting so far, and the club plans to continue finding ways to create an educational and entertaining atmosphere, according to Suwitra.
“Despite the pandemic keeping us on distance learning, FMC has a lot of fun events planned for this year, including professional guest panelists and program tutorials,” Suwitra said. “We hope to teach others about various aspects of filmmaking and enter into film competitions in the near future.”
Not all clubs, however, are affected by distance learning. In fact, some owe their existence to it.
Pen Pals Club was created by junior Agelie Rivera earlier this year when she saw a sign on the door of a retirement home that said no visitors were allowed.
“(The senior citizens) were trapped inside this facility and they couldn’t see their family or friends and that was really sad, so I was thinking how can I help them out,” Rivera said.
Additionally, Rivera wanted to give students a break from constantly staring at a computer. Pen Pals Club focuses on using paper letters to communicate.
“Our school is literally based on virtual things right now. I think people would want an escape from all that,” Rivera said.
Despite the difficulties distance learning has presented to clubs, there are some benefits. Rivera actually finds hosting a club virtually easier. She said the accessibility of online materials makes students more inclined to come to meetings.
“I think virtually it’s just so much easier because it’s (the club meeting) literally a click away,” Rivera said.