Clubbing at Community: Profiles of Student Clubs

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Clubbing at Community: Profiles of Student Clubs

Gwyneth Moreland

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Community offers a diverse range of clubs, with everything from student activism to student gaming. But there’s more to the story than what goes on the posters – community clubs have all sorts of plans for the new school year. Take a closer look at all the clubs and extracurricular activities that Community offers:

QSA (Queer-Straight Alliance)

Meets: Mondays at lunch in Chloe’s room and Thursdays after forum

Students introduce themselves at a QSA meeting.

Monday may not be everyone’s favorite day; a fter all, it’s the beginning of another week, and all you have to look forward to is five more tiring days of school But for some, it means one of the few chances to talk about the issues they face as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and allied youth.

The QSA, or Queer-Straight Alliance, is a club dedicated to bringing together queer and non-queer youth and raising awareness in the school community. Queer, a reclaimed word, is an umbrella term for non-straight or cisgender people. It can refer to gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, transgender, gender neutral, or intersex people, as well as many others. Many club members will point out that you don’t have to be queer to go. “It’s a safe place to talk about issues or anything,”  says  one of the members, Robert Stephens. Just about anyone can come. “People that are interested in topics in the queer community, have questions, or just want to hang out and talk can come

“This year we want to work on developing a bigger relationship with teachers,” says one of the QSA leaders, Max Bonilla. “We’re working on a time when teachers can come in and ask questions.”

 

YATN (Youth Activist Training and Networking)

Meets: Fridays at lunch in Chloe’s room

YATN is a group for both experienced and newcomer student activists. “We have a number of things in our name that try to explain what we really believe in, an d networking is the big one,” says co-founder Fauster Kitchens. “There are a lot of activist groups concerned with single issue things, and we really believe there needs to be a general activist group of radical community, where people of all different interests in radical work can get together and discuss their projects.”

The club does not have specific issues they plan to focus on later in the year. “It really depends on what people come in with. Education reform is definitely going to be a big one,” says Kitchens. He personally wants on of YATN’s projects to be working with other organizations to set up an “info shop”, which is a place where radical literature like zines are distributed.

Kitchens notes that anyone who’s interested in activism should come. “It’s very important in any community to have a plethora of voices.”

 

Ecology Club

Meets: Mondays in Courtney’s room

If you’re wondering what that big hole in the ground is, Ecology Club has an answer: a soon-to-be rain garden. “Our big plan for this fall is to put in the rain garden,” says advisor Courtney Kiley.  “Its purpose is to soak up water that would otherwise be running into the storm drains.”  By putting in loose soil and native plants, the club plans to reduce runoff. “We’ve designed a green campus plan for Community that we hope to put in to action, step by step.”

Anyone who’s interested in science should come. “It’s a pretty informal club,” Kiley notes. “It’s not always ecology based, but it’s mostly ecology focused.”

Eco club is definitely busy, with many plans set out for the year. “We’re going to go to the natural history museum who’re going to teach us about taxidermy of large animals, and we’re raising salmon again and hoping to go into some elementary schools and teach kids about the Great Lakes,” said Kiley.

 

BSU (Black Student Union)

Meets: 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month at lunch in Janelle’s room

Though students may not have seen a lot of advertisement for the BSU, it’s as strong as ever. Janelle Johnson, who organizes BSU, plans to continue the annual talent show as well as the Valentines Day carnation sale. “We want to do some volunteer work,” says Johnson. “My hope is that once we get things situated with the talent show, that then we’re able to focus on some volunteer work and what we really want to do at this school.” This is Johnson’s second year as the organizer, and she’s excited for what’s to come. “You don’t have to be black to come, you just have to want to learn about black people or culture or want to be around them and hang out,” says Johnson.

“I think that clubs are great, I actually really wish we could have more student participation,” said Johnson. “But sometimes I feel like some students don’t want to take the time to see what the club is about, and I’m really hoping we can get a lot more student participation in all the clubs … It helps you grow.”

 

Game Club

Meets: Thursdays after school in the Library

Students playing Halo at Game Club

Game club is a relaxed club all about playing games and having fun. Dillon Atkins, a member of game club, figures it was originally founded because “a bunch of people wanted to get together and play some games… they’ll play online and be screaming at random people or sometimes you’ll be playing alone and it gets boring,” Atkins points out. “We all know eachother, and it’s a lot more social than playing online.”

The club doesn’t have too many specific plans, but they do hope to raise money this year for an Xbox 360. “Right now, a lot of people just bring in consoles,” says Atkins. In addition, they are planning to bring or install new games onto the consoles.

Atkins welcomes anyone who enjoys video games to come. “If you’re not afraid to be trash-talked quite a bit or be called a ‘newb’, although we’re trying to get rid of that… if you want to come down and have fun, just try it out.”

Atkins doesn’t worry about gaming at Community. When asked if gamers face stigma, he responds “honestly, in other places, anywhere other than Community? I think so. But here? No one cares.”

 

LiNK (Liberty In North Korea)

Meets: Wednesdays at lunch in room 305

The CHS LiNK chapter focuses on the human rights crisis in North Korea, where there are no basic rights such as freedom of speech and religion. It is a relatively new club, founded just last year by Corey Fellabaum. “We will raise money to help North Korean refugees and also raising awareness about the problem in North Korea and we want to spread the true news about the real North Korea,” says Fellabaum.

A major goal of the chapter is to raise funds to help a North Korean refugee escape from China. Even after fleeing from North Korea, they still face being sent home if they are caught. The money raised goes towards helping a refugee escape to a country like South Korea or the US that will give them asylum. “We want to spread the true news about the real North Korea,” says Fellabaum.

 

Poetry  Club

Meets: Wednesdays at lunch in room 304

The poetry club started last year when people realized there was no place for writers to get together and talk about their craft. Brian Miller, who retired last year, had always wanted to have a poetry club and so he started the club last winter.

 

Each meeting, six to eight students often have a prompt or poem to look at. “The push is to bring poems in for sharing and working on,” says Ellen Stone, who now runs the club. Poetry club is pushing its members to get their work out there via publishing, poetry slams, and readings. The club plans to do readings this year during Science, Arts & Letters Night and bring back Shorts on the Ledge, a day where students gather around the second floor ledge to hear poems be read by their peers.

One thing Stone would like to see is more rap poets. This year, she’s interested in collaborating with the CHS Jazz Department and setting up a rap workshop, as well as bringing in poets from UM.

“I worry about students who just go to class,” says Stone, who is excited that there are so many clubs this year. Stone encourages students to go participate in all the extracurriculars Community has to offer. As for poetry club, non-writers who want to understand poetry, poets, and writers are all welcome. “Just come,” says Stone.

 

Two more clubs, Latin Club and the Asian Student Union, are also planning to start up this year. Latin Club started last year when many students expressed interest, but it eventually stopped meeting due to small numbers. This year, students have expressed interested in bringing the club back to Jason McKnight, Community’s Latin teacher. When asked if he plans to start it back up, he gets right to the point: “I absolutely will.”

Asian Student Union is also returning this year. Judith DeWoskin, the advisor, says that a big focus will be on struggles and issues of individual Asian ethnicities. She notes that people tend to lump all Asians together, while the cultures themselves are very distinct.

The club will meet on Fridays during lunch in Judith’s room starting October 7th. On the first meeting, they will honor Sanako Fujioka, who is known for her quote “come if you’re Asian, like to hang out with Asians, or would like to be Asian.”

 

Although you can never be sure what club is right for you until you go, it’s clear that Community has a club for just about anyone, and the diverse range of clubs will only continue to grow as students come up with new ideas. Club leaders would love to see you at their next meeting, so try one out!

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