By Anna Dubey ‘21 and Idan Mor ‘21
This year, the administration and JSL displayed a markedly strengthened initiative to increase student commitment to clubs. At a meeting between Aliza Sebert, the JSL Programming Coordinator, and student club facilitators, Sebert unveiled alterations to club scheduling and a new rule regarding commitment to clubs. The new schedule, which has already been implemented, outlines several principal times for clubs to meet, namely last period on Wednesdays and lunch on alternating Fridays. At the meeting, Sebert also shared a rule that students may only sign up for one club per scheduling block, but hastily withdrew it due to backlash from student club facilitators.
Despite this rule’s reassessment, the initiative for students to show greater commitment to clubs has manifested in other ways. In advisory during the week of October 8th, students were instructed to fill out a survey by listing clubs to which they plan to fully commit, clubs they’d like to attend occasionally, and clubs they wish to learn more about. The instructions also suggested including sports teams, though they weren’t listed in the provided clubs roster. Additionally, the survey recommended reaching out to advisors and club facilitators if any of their clubs were found to meet at conflicting times. Sebert explained, “[the survey] was about students having an opportunity to talk with their advisors about their commitments.” Neither student nor faculty club facilitators will have access to the results of the survey, though advisors will receive copies of the lists submitted by their advisees. As to Sebert’s purpose in assisting with the commitment initiative, she commented that “there was a real need in particular clubs” for increased commitment levels.
Student club facilitator reactions to the commitment initiative were mixed. Sophomore Ayelet Kaminer, co-president of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, believes that her club’s low-commitment attitude is imperative to its purpose. She shared, “The GSA has always been a place that is there for students if and when they want it. We have never mandated attendance… Because of the way in which GSA is structured, I firmly believe that [the commitment initiative] will hinder the ability of students to explore their interests and discover GSA.” In contrast, leaders of clubs that already had considerable student dedication have noticed that this year’s initiative hasn’t had much of an effect on student commitment, especially for those that meet after school. Leah Fruchtman, a junior and co-facilitator of the Heschel Harmonizers, observed that the change “didn’t really affect Harmonizers.” Similarly, sophomore Felix Hasson, a former member of the Engineering club, explained, “I was already committed to my club.” Senior Elana Nussbaum-Cohen, a leader of Moot Beit Din, thinks it’s too early in the year to tell how the initiative has affected her club’s members, but hopes that it succeeds and benefits her club.