PV clubs face challenges after going virtual

Megan Austin, Staff Writer

Senior Natalia Chinchilla said that the “biggest” challenge in hosting virtual clubs is trying to get every member involved. 

Chinchilla participates in numerous extracurricular activities, including the Asian Culture Club, World Culture Club, Girls Who Code, and Harvesters Club – all of which currently take place virtually following coronavirus restrictions.

“Clubs are completely different [this year],” Chinchilla said. “We’re being restricted on what we can and cannot do.” 

According to a PV history teacher and club advisor Marisa Mathias, due to the change in coronavirus guidelines, students and staff have resorted to meeting virtually over Google Meets and Zoom calls.

“I really appreciate the students and kids that are so much more willing to turn on their cameras and talk [in a virtual setting],” Chinchilla said. 

In hopes of engaging more students, Chinchilla said that clubs have “gotten a little more creative” to combat disinterest during meetings. Many clubs have come up with new activities that can be completed virtually. 

Chinchilla has taken part in breakout rooms, Among Us games, and cooking activities over Zoom and Google Meet, all while inside her home. The World Culture Club hosted a virtual cooking tutorial over Google Meet in which students made empanadas. During the Asian Culture Club meeting, students played the game Among Us, an app where players complete tasks and try to find the “impostor” with their peers. 

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According to Chinchilla, the World Culture Club has gained two to three times more club members this year than in previous ones.

“We were really excited [about how the club] is getting big and it’s fun because you’d like to see that people are at least interested,” Chinchilla said.

Chinchilla said that since the start of the new school year many clubs have been gaining more new members due to the “easy” accessibility of meetings.

“Students now spend a lot of time at home, so there are less commitments for them to follow through with,” Chinchilla said. “Many are turning to clubs to have fun and get involved, which is a positive take of everything going on.”

Club meetings are no longer being held primarily during lunch, with some taking place at 7 p.m. and 3 p.m., according to Chinchilla. 

With the new school schedule in place, Mathias has organized her weekly meetings at a different time of the day compared to previous years. 

“It’s just hard trying to schedule everything in the day,” Mathias said. 

Mathias recognized that meetings and fundraising opportunities will not be the same because of the pandemic. 

“Raising money for charitable organizations is a bit different [this year],” Mathias said. “[We] are not consistently meeting in person and [we] can’t do in-person events that help raise money.” 

Despite the setbacks due to the coronavirus, Mathias has found a positive outlook on leading her club in a virtual setting. 

“[Using Google Meets], I was now able to open up the speakers who talk during the Religion in America course, to Harvesters club members,” Mathias said.

Many PV clubs have been operating virtually for months now with the help of advisors like Mathias.

“[Virtual meetings] have been a challenge, but we somehow always figure it out and do it [and I am] thankful it always works out,” Chinchilla said.