School Club Captains Spooked by Changes
Chanho Kim, ’19
January and February were marked with an invisible anxiety for many to-be-junior students. These students, many of them holding a position as club captains, waited nervously for applications from the freshman of the Class of 2020 and desperately promoted their clubs through means of Facebook and Naver Cafe.
Although the majority of clubs did eventually receive multiple applications, the experience was certainly stressful for certain students as was re-vealed in a private interview with one club member (who preferred to remain anonymous). He/she recalled in hindsight: “I knew that there would be applicants and that many freshmen were busy writing their applications. But as the deadline drew closer and closer, and when I saw that my club only had 5 applicants, I was really nervous. I’m glad that I had a rush of applications on the last day, though!”
However, even though a few clubs did flourish in terms of popularity, many other club captains were disappointed at the final turnout. One club captain who was particularly sorrowful at a meager number of applicants, complained that “[their] club was one that traditionally had several candidates but this year, [they] had an abnormally low application rate.”
Indeed, many students have noted that application rates have dropped significantly from last year with most clubs claiming that applications are at “record-low levels” with respect to previous years. Numerous speculations have arisen to explain this phenomenon. Some state that the policies of the HAFS Student Council played a part in limiting the promotion process of clubs. Others presume that rumors have spread that participating in too many clubs will damage one’s grades.
After the “document applications period” came the “interview period” from February 25 to March 1, during which clubs met the candidates in person to further assess their competence. Unfortunately for the clubs, even more complications ensued after the HAFS Clubs Department notified the students on February 24 that the interviews scheduled during the mornings of February 28 and March 1 were rescheduled due to the rehearsal of the opening ceremony along with other school schedules. This caused disruption among club captains, who hurried to reschedule their interviews via the Google Form provided by the Clubs Department. The interviews are expected to continue until March 9.
Other new school policies, such as the change in date of the HAFS Festival to May (previously scheduled after the Finals) are also causing great concern among clubs, especially those that need to prepare performances. Some clubs will be expected to do more during a busier time, with fewer members.
Interestingly, it seems as though some freshmen also aren’t satisfied with the results of this year’s club applications. As of March 5, posts about club applications make up roughly half the recent content on HAFS Confession, many of them expressing freshmen concerns about not getting into their desired club. For now, this year’s club activities remain uncertain for everyone.