OPINION: The Disheartening Reality of Urbana’s Clubs


Clubs. They’re one of many staples to the typical high school experience. Since they’re present in almost every movie, game, and book about the final four years, you’d think they’d be something huge and super well known here at Urbana too.
However, it seems like most of our clubs go forgotten and ignored.
Sure, the timing of this statement may seem somewhat strange and downright idiotic considering the club fair and club sign-ups going on this month, but at the same time, consider this: how many students have you really heard talking about all the different club options, their opinions, their excitement?
As sad as it may seem, a lot of the clubs at Urbana are simply unheard of to most students. And, honestly, I don’t think a lot of faculty and even students realize that.
I, for one, sure didn’t. When I sent out a survey to other members of the Hawkeye, I was fully expecting solid reviews on many of the clubs here, some tips for underclassmen from upperclassmen, things like that. In reality, the results were far from what I expected: most students only knew one club.
Interesting, isn’t it? Students are offered roughly 80 clubs and yet only seem to really know one or two out of all of them, usually the main one they’re in. These same clubs are the ones they go to year after year, without trying to branch out or check something else.
Maybe this lack of expansion is because they don’t want to leave their comfort zone. Maybe they don’t want to go to something without their friends. Maybe the descriptions just aren’t interesting enough, or simply don’t “look good” on college transcripts. Maybe they’re even feeling stressed about all the choices or simply apathetic about this part of our school life.
No matter the reason, many of our clubs are left at 1-2 members tops, while the more popular clubs burst at the seams with too many members to properly handle.
I feel like I shouldn’t even be surprised at the results, after all, I’m also one of hundreds of students caught in this cycle. One of the only clubs I’ve really stuck with has been MUN, since none of the other clubs I’ve seen presented have been interesting to me. For me, many just don’t really fit my interests, or are simply too academic to be interested in, no matter how good they’d look on a transcript.
Aside from interesting, another thing that clearly threw many students off is the interruption COVID-19 brought to many clubs. In one response on my survey, this one coming from a 10th grader, the response said simply that the last year or so was confusing in terms of clubs, leaving them with very little experience to contribute. Many students that joined our school during the pandemic most likely feel the same way. They’ve missed the 9th grade opportunities to join in on the sign-ups, to really experience all Urbana has to offer in-person. Obviously, this isn’t the school’s fault, the pandemic and its damaging effects are still very much beyond our control. However, UHS simply doesn’t seem to be trying to make up for the lost time, and simply goes for the same old same old.
This article isn’t some fancy way of bashing our club system, of course. Clubs can be extremely important for kids to find new interests or to make friends outside of their classes, lunch table, or grade level. However, the club system simply needs to be revised and revisited. Students leaders and their advisors simply need to think about the bigger picture of making more interesting clubs for students aside from themselves. That’s pretty much the only way to make our clubs more appealing to students.
But who knows? Maybe some generation of students at Urbana will want to live that high school movie life, and clubs will become truly relevant again.