Club Confinement

Clubs during Quarantine


Alessandro Romero, Writer

The prospect of clubs during this period of remote learning has presented many changes, and these student groups are faced with the challenge of having to restructure and redo their normal operations. How are clubs adapting to this new age of remote learning? I can present a firsthand experience with the clubs I have participated in so far in the year: Freshmen Class Council, Junior Statesmen, Model United Nations, and the Dakota Writing Club. They have each different adjustments made towards managing virtual setting.

The Freshmen Class Council is dedicated to students becoming more connected, serving the community through service and fundraising, and to specifically manage fundraisers to support Dakota. With their active approach to interacting with the community and school, there is a large challenge trying to operate class council in a more isolated state of remote learning. They meet these challenges through trying to work with virtual settings to meet with goals. For example, the council seeks to communicate with students through announcements on social media. This idea was also suggested virtually through meetings hosted on Microsoft Teams; the same program used for remote classes. Club information needed by its members are also communicated virtually the Remind app. Remind is app dedicating to giving school staff virtually reminders to students regarding school.  It is not the same as making daily announcement inside the school announcement system, but it is still finding solutions to the issue. The council is still operating and trying to meet its goals of good deeds throughout the school and community that surrounds it.

Junior Statesmen of America or JSA is a club where students can participate in active discussion of politics. This club does not face as many obstacles as other clubs as it is purely discussion based. JSA uses the Microsoft Teams software to have students interact with each other. Although there is come issues regarding the software or devices used in meetings, active discussion of politics is still being. Junior Statesmen of America is running in a smooth pace with its simple yet engaging concept of participating in political discussion.

The Dakota Model United Nations club or DMUN for short has students play the role of delegates of a country that solves issues and crises while working with other delegates. There is much involvement that members must partake in to get the most out of the club. With remote learning limiting involvement to virtual interaction, it can pose troublesome to propose solutions and work with others. There is also the issue of having MUN conferences in a virtual setting. MUN conferences are meetings of MUN clubs from different schools participate together. In order to remove the technological burdens, the club has used a variety of programs to maintain the club. For meetings that give members information regarding events surrounding the club, it typical uses Microsoft Teams to do so. In meetings that aim to solve issues and crises given to delegates, the club uses the software and app Discord.  Discord had its users create private servers or chat rooms with various features that enables users to chat among each other privately. Discord and Schoology using its groups feature both give members information regarding meetings. With a few adjustments being made to properly accommodate the DMUN meetings are running properly. Conferences such as CASC are also using a software called Gatherly that serves as a video chat service. Model United Nations still does their assignments of acting as delegates even with a virtual setting.

The Dakota Writing Club or Inklusive Underground has its members write out pieces based on a prompt given. A simple example would be writing a journey through a forest. The challenge that presents itself to the club is also the isolation that have imposed on students and not allowing students to have a broader range of interaction. The club has been experimenting with new ideas to circumvent the virtual atmosphere and try to work with it, including utilizing Microsoft Teams to host meetings. Writing Club uses online surveys for its members to use in order to better allocate time. The club has even created an agenda via Microsoft PowerPoint. Inklusive Underground also created a Remind group for their users. They did needed time to make adjustments for their first meeting due to the difficulty of organizing and adapting to scheduling issues. However, they have found a decent size of members to commit and join. The Writing Club continues to write despite the current conditions of our world.

Overall, the clubs that are running under virtual settings are prevailing despite challenges. A main challenge was getting students to fully interact with each other as they would in a regular setting. They have circumvented this through use of programs that act as chat rooms or videocalls. Microsoft Teams is common program that used throughout the clubs I have participated in. Two of the four groups have also used Remind to offer communication to its members. With experimenting with software, clubs have overcome some of the challenges by isolation. Clubs still continue to operate with some success in virtual learning despite the obstacles this new setting of remote schooling creates.