Editorial: Club abundance overwhelms campus resources


Graphic illustration by Susanna Tang

Too many clubs take up the campus’s limited resources, rendering harmful effects.

Epic Staff

During Club Info Week in September, Lynbrook displayed more than 80 service, competition and interest clubs in the quad. Despite the pervasive sense of excitement on campus, some clubs were struggling behind the scenes. DECA and CSF — two of the largest on campus — had difficulties finding advisers leading up to the week, and there was intense competition among clubs for the limited facilities available. While all clubs are valuable in catering to different parts of the student population, the finite resources on campus, like advisers and facilities, cannot be ignored. Deficiencies in ASB’s current club proposal and review process enable this current situation, so the number of clubs on campus must be reduced if resources cannot be increased.

Increasing the variety of clubs on campus and ensuring each student has their specific interests represented is an unsustainable and idealistic idea. In execution, it places stress on campus resources and the attention spans of students. With students involving themselves in more and more clubs, many cannot maintain a high level of dedication to each, leading to poorly run clubs with low attendance.

Lynbrook’s many niche clubs, which often target an intricacy within a popular field, often have a difficult time connecting to the student body because their audience is similarly narrow. For instance, Pre-Med Club rightfully caters to the large population of students at Lynbrook interested in medicine, but it is weakened by the existence of other clubs dedicated to niches underneath this umbrella: Surgery Interest, HEAL, CardioMed, Sports Medicine and Neuroscience. 

ASB must be more strict when evaluating club proposals to ensure that new clubs will contribute something unique to campus and not overlap in any aspect with existing clubs. For example, Machine Learning Club, passed three years ago, and Data Analysis Club, passed just last year, are both interest clubs targeting students interested in the use of big data. However, the existence of both is redundant, decreasing the number of potential members and unnecessarily dividing the already strained resources on campus such as advisers and facilities. 

“We’ve already gotten a lot of proposals for new clubs this year, and as Vice Presidents we’ll be looking more critically at how they will contribute to club culture,” said Calais Waring, ASB Vice President and Community Link Commission Head. “An important element we’ll be looking for is differentiation.”

In addition, demand for a club should be a large factor in determining if a club is approved and if it should remain at Lynbrook. Presenting to Legislative Council, most club officers highlight interest form statistics to prove student demand for the club among the student body, but many times, these forms rarely make it out of the officers’ friend groups, which leads to a disparity between the figures presented and actual attendance. Club officers must make a more honest effort to collect data unbiased by friendship that reflects the sentiments of the whole school. The school can support them by allocating time during homeroom for people to fill out these interest forms or by making sure everyone hears about them through the announcements. 

Waring recognizes the stress an overabundance of clubs is causing on campus resources and assures that Community Link and Legislative Council are looking into solutions.

“This year, we’re trying to reduce the amount of clubs we pass because we’re at over-capacity,” Waring said. “For example, Homestead only has 30 clubs, and whenever a new one wants to get passed, an old one has to be removed. We’ve also shortened the window for club proposals, which has been nearly the entire year in the past, to mid-November.”

Speaking on behalf of the school administration, Leadership adviser Jason Lee recognizes that the current club situation is unsustainable due to the shortage and overcommitment of advisers on clubs. However, he maintains that Community Link has no target number of clubs.

“We are using club portfolios and club review to ensure club bylaws are met,” Lee said. “We are looking for clubs to meet their requirements and have quality meetings, so their establishment as a Lynbrook club has merit.”

CSF and DECA’s struggles this year arose when their adviser chose not to advise or retire, respectively. Their size made it difficult for these clubs to find an adviser, which was further exacerbated by the surplus of newly formed and existing clubs. Furthermore, some teachers declined to advise these clubs because they were intimidated by the responsibility and time commitment, including attending overnight conferences. 

“It was particularly hard to find an adviser because of how big DECA is as a club,” DECA President Jasmine Hou said. “We have a lot of members and are notorious for being very competitive and hard to manage, so a lot of teachers were very hesitant to help out this year. Also, there were a lot of clubs who were also looking for advisers, so it was hard to find someone who had time to advise DECA.”

Clubs that have existed at Lynbrook for numerous years and contributed tremendously to Lynbrook’s culture should not suffer or get cut by ASB due to a lack of advisers or resources.  

The passage of new clubs is outstripping the pace at which ASB can review and cut old clubs on campus, leading to the campus becoming bloated with similar or overly-niche clubs. If ASB re-evaluates its club proposal and review process to better assess the value and interest level of different clubs, it would alleviate the current stress on the campus’s finite resources of advisers and facilities.

* The Epic staff voted 34-1 in favor of this stance, with 1 staff member abstaining.