Club Participation is Down Due to COVID, but Importance is Up

Students+edit+articles+for+the+first+release+of+the+Echo+Newspaper+with+Warren+Wilson+Alumnus+and+Mountain+Xpress+Operations+Manager%2FWriter+Able+Allen.+

Screenshot of Echo club meeting

Students edit articles for the first release of the Echo Newspaper with Warren Wilson Alumnus and Mountain Xpress Operations Manager/Writer Able Allen.

“Because of the pandemic, we’ve secluded and sullied ourselves,” said Tacci Smith, assistant dean for student life engagement.

Warren Wilson College clubs have taken a hit in attendance as students pared down activities this semester due to the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students, especially freshmen and those studying off campus, are feeling disconnected from Warren Wilson and their peers. 

Smith notes though that clubs may help combat the spectre of loneliness.

“Clubs provide the ability to find your people,” she said. “[…] It’s taking everyone who is so different and narrowing in.”

According to the current list held by Student Activities, there are a total of 55 active clubs and 7 inactive clubs on campus at Warren Wilson. However, that list is slightly outdated and the true number of clubs is unclear. So The Echo is compiling a fresh resource for students in the form of a comprehensive listing of active clubs.

The current list contains some groups that many students will find familiar, such as the Black Student Union or the Student Government Association, but it also includes some potentially unexpected options like Bhakti Yoga, The Echo Student Newspaper, and Role Playing Game Club. Contact The Echo to tell us what clubs you are a part of. 

Like Smith, Kittrece Cade, co-president of the Student Government Association, feels hopeful that clubs can help students regain their community connection this year. 

“Talking to other people makes you feel less isolated, and this pandemic is for sure isolating,” Cade said. 

And joining a club might be less risky than expected. Clubs across campus have modified how they run in order to ensure the safety of all who attend. As suggested by the Centers for Disease Control, masks and social distancing should be employed whenever in person, but clubs are adapting in other ways as well. Many are opting-in for outdoor locations and providing the opportunity to participate virtually. Brianna Martin, co-president of Student Government Association, comments that though the meetings have gone virtual, it may have opened up the opportunity for others to come, though the format can be a bit strange.

“SGA meetings used to be physically in person in Canon Lounge, but now they’re virtual, which is different,” Martin said. “But I also think it’s allowed for some people who maybe couldn’t get there before to tune in, which is definitely a perk.[…]The only thing is that because SGA is so conversation-based, I think that the virtual aspect can make it kind of awkward or hard to know when to jump in.”

While many students would like to participate in clubs right now, it can be tedious in these times, according to Bassam Shawamreh, co-president to SGA and student health ambassador to Warren Wilson College. 

“[Clubs are] one more thing and one more Google Meet,” Shawamreh said. “The positives outweigh that sort of stress and the negative elements, but it is definitely still there.” 

And that digital downside can add up for many people. Nevertheless, if a student feels like overcoming the screentime overload, or feels like they could use some deeper connections to WWC and their peers, a club could be waiting to get them closer to other students. 

“I just think it’s critical to have that human connection,” Cade said. “Whether it’s online or in person.”