New Year, New Affinity Groups and Clubs

By: Ashley X. ’23

This year, there are five new clubs and two new affinity groups at Winsor, bringing the total number of clubs to 36. They explore a diverse range of topics, from politics to culture to volunteer work, and give students the chance to find cultural likenesses, expand and provoke thought, and to connect with others who have similar interests. The establishment of new clubs is an important step to bettering the school because a truly exceptional school offers the greatest possible range of opportunities that help students to grow and expand. 

A few of these new clubs are focused around cultural diversity. SASA, or South Asian Student Alliance, was a regular club last year that turned into an affinity group this year. Rani Balakrishna ’21, a co-head of SASA, said, “Avantika Kothari ’19 and I started this club to provide a space for South Asian students at Winsor to share their experiences, because AsIAm is a big umbrella for the hundreds of cultures that are in Asia. Going to AsIAm, it was difficult for South Asian students to feel like they had a shared experience with East Asian students, who have widely different cultures.” In addition to SASA, UMMAH is a new affinity group for students who identify as Muslim, and Spanish club is a club for Spanish-speaking students of all levels who are interested in learning more about Spanish culture. Together, these clubs help provide Winsor students with the opportunity to discuss their experiences in safe and inclusive spaces with people who share the same background as them.

Diversity is about more than what you might think. There is more to it than cultural or religious aspects; it is also important to explore and acknowledge a wide range of ideas and actions to create a healthy student body. Not only do the new clubs this year offer students an opportunity to engage with different cultures, but clubs such as Political Action, Boston Outreach, and Ethics help provide alternative ways for how Winsor students think. The Political Action Club (WPAC), for example, is aimed at exposing students to different sides of political issues such as gun control, environmental regulation, reproductive rights, immigration, and more. According to Eva Fisherman ’21 and Catherine Friendly ’21, the heads of WPAC, “Winsor, being a left-leaning school, often doesn’t acknowledge a more conservative viewpoint. This club will offer that space to educate and discuss both sides of issues.” 

Similarly, Ethics is a club that discusses ethical decisions such as whether DNA test results should be available to the police or whether one should vote in elections when an individual vote will not make a difference. Student government heads Avery Beber ’20 and Asrah Rizvi ’20 stated that they chose to pass Ethics because it was a club “focused on a new area that other clubs do not talk about” by “giving people the option to discuss ethical dilemmas,” all the while helping students to improve their public speaking and debate skills. Like Political Action, Ethics encourages students to expand and diversify their thinking by taking a look at controversial issues from viewpoints that they might not have ever considered before. Ethics is a club with a special importance in today’s world, where we are constantly barraged with different political views, that students learn to understand the current climate in order to be able to form opinions for themselves. This is also part of creating an excellent school, because Winsor should prepare students for life.

In addition, Boston Outreach reflects similar ideas. Boston Outreach focuses on allowing Winsor students to connect with the Greater Boston Area by volunteering through non-profit organizations, such as Boston Area Gleaners and Rosie’s Place, and organizing events in Winsor, such as food and book drives. Co-heads Katherine Loose ’20 and Lucie King ’20 hope that Boston Outreach will “give students the opportunity to learn about many different non-profits and give back to Boston in different ways,” as it is the only volunteer-based club that works with multiple organizations. Boston Outreach is a valuable new club because it teaches students to give back to the community and shows them more aspects of the place where Winsor is built upon.

In addition to these more serious clubs, there is also a new club that is purely about relaxing and having fun. Diversity also means diversity of interest. In the Harry Potter Club, students who share a love for the magical book series will get the opportunity to have quidditch matches, eat Harry Potter candy, explore Pottermore, participate in the House Cup, and watch Harry Potter movies together. Caitlin Bracken ’20 and Eva Shin ’20, the founders of the club, said, “The world of Harry Potter is such a fun and exciting escape from reality and we thought it would be a fun and magical break from the stress of Winsor.” It is important for a school to have a space that encourages a diversity of student’s interests because it helps students share and enjoy doing what they love in the midst of an otherwise stressful school setting.

Ultimately, these new clubs not only help students to find and connect with others who share the same interests, ways of thinking, or cultural and linguistic backgrounds, but they also provide an opportunity for us to connect with people who might be completely different. Looking at these clubs is a good reminder of the diversity that exists here at Winsor and of all the different people that are coming together in one small space. As we head into the new school year, it is important to appreciate this diversity, as it is what makes each one of us special, and helps to build a stronger, more unique school community.