By, Ellisya Lindsey
I am sure most Winsor upper school students remember receiving an email in April about either creating or renewing a club. While this time of year can be exciting to many students, the club approval process is still a bit of a mystery even though it has existed for many years. I recently sat down with Unique H. ’18, the current COLLECT President, to learn more about the club approval process.
A good starting point was to get a brief overview of the club renewal and approval process. COLLECT begins the process by sending a survey out to the current club heads of the year to gauge student interest in the current clubs so that they can decide which clubs to renew and which clubs to remove. COLLECT then sends out the club proposal forms to the Upper School. Once COLLECT has received all of its proposals, the club and the class presidents voted on which clubs should be passed. Last year, there were about forty spots open for all clubs before renewals. After clubs were renewed, there were only seven spots left for new clubs.
However, class presidents were not always involved in the process of deciding new clubs for the coming year. Last year, COLLECT decided that it would be good to have class presidents help decide on the new clubs as they would offer a new perspective of the student body. It is unclear whether or not COLLECT will do this again, but Unique H. found it “helpful to have the class presidents in attendance for these couple meetings.” Additionally, as a class president that attended these meetings, I do feel that it was good for the class presidents to attend this meeting, so they could speak on behalf of their class and its interest in a way that may not have occurred previously.
Although the club renewal and approval process itself is efficient and successful, there are some issues after clubs have been approved. Unique H., along with the rest of COLLECT, feel that there should be a better system to monitor clubs throughout the year so that club heads can be held accountable. Currently, it is very easy for clubs to stay under the radar and not do much, or anything, during the year. Julia M. ’19, a Class VII COLLECT Representative, shared, “Due to COLLECT’s many responsibilities, we evaluate the clubs only a couple times a year, so it can be difficult for us to address whether or not these clubs have accomplished the goals they set out for themselves in the beginning of the year.” Therefore, it is likely that these clubs are taking spots away from other proposed clubs, even though they sometimes do not end up contributing to the student body.
Through this meeting, I have learned that there are steps we can take as students to make the club process better for both COLLECT and the student body. For one, students should try to make their proposal forms as specific as possible so that COLLECT can easily review your club and come to a fully-informed decision about the club. It is not helpful to submit a form with one sentence answers because COLLECT does not have much information to base their decision on. However, if your club is rejected and you do not know why, you are always welcome to ask any member of COLLECT to explain their decision to you. COLLECT is trying to improve their transparency this year, so they would definitely be willing to answer your questions. Additionally, students should submit clubs that have a clear vision, mission or contribution to student body. The goal of clubs is to improve student life at Winsor, but that is not possible if the club does not have a strategy or method of doing so.