Virtual Club Rally: Andover Clubs Adjust to Remote Learning

The Student Activities (Stact) Board and Christopher Capano, Student Activities Director, held Andover’s first ever virtual club rally via Zoom on Friday and Saturday night from 8:00–11:00 p.m. EST.

Prior to the rally, club leaders submitted through a Google form short club descriptions and links to the clubs’ hour-long Zoom that would open during their registered times, which Capano and the Stact Office then made available to all Andover students via email. For students unable to make the virtual club rally, club leaders created Flipgrid videos that Capano collected, and plans to disseminate.

According to Izzy Alvarez ’23, she appreciated the Zoom-style club rally as an alternative under remote circumstances. Students could freely enter and exit the Zoom calls, where they were able to ask questions and chat with club leaders and members.

“I think the club rally was run as best as it could regarding our circumstance. Usually, it’s in the Cage. It’s very crowded, which is not ideal under [Covid-19] regulations, but the energy is very high and fun. I think that this was a great remote alternative to that,” said Alvarez.

On the other hand, Sadie Burke ’23 felt that the environment of the remote club rally was not as appreciable as being in-person, because of both the different energy level and the frequent repetitions of basic club information due to students constantly leaving and joining Zoom meetings.

“Most of the clubs repeated this info multiple times because people were trickling in and out of the meeting,” said Burke. “The atmosphere was obviously a lot different than [Junior] year because it wasn’t in person. I think I was actually able to learn more about different clubs this year without the craziness of the in person rally. That said, last [year] was more fun because I got to be around everyone.”

CC Song ’21, the President of Model United Nations (MUN), Co-Head for VEX Robotics (VEX), and founder of Kids Around the World in STEM, made use of different remote tactics for the rally’s preparation, including the creation of a new club Instagram. Song described how MUN focused mostly on its Flipgrid presentation while VEX connected with interested students through emails to make sure people stay connected and learn the programs’ details.

“Since [MUN] is one of the biggest clubs on campus and an activity that many new students are interested in trying out, we wanted to make sure we covered all the important information about the club and some good reasons to join [MUN] in our Flipgrid video since that format will likely reach most students. For VEX, most of our members are people who are interested in STEM and, more specifically, tech, so we take part in a group email list sign up sheet with a few other tech clubs. That way, students have a chance to sign up for multiple email lists even if they just visit one tech club during the rally,” wrote Song in an email to The Phillipian

For Alana Chiang ’24, the club rally played a vital role in influencing her decisions of joining clubs. According to Chiang, she enjoyed the experience of interacting with club members over simply reading about the clubs.

“To me, the rally was very important for deciding which clubs I wanted to join, because with the rally I could have an actual experience talking to and asking questions about the clubs instead of reading through boring descriptions,” said Chiang.

She continued, “With the rally being virtual, it would definitely affect my decision about joining clubs. If the rally were in person, I feel as though I would be able to get a better sense of the club and see if I would be a good fit for it. But, given the current circumstances, I believe that Andover is doing the best it can for [their] students, and we have to still be grateful that we even have the opportunity to join clubs this fall.”