Clubs Adapt to COVID-19

Clubs Adapt to COVID-19

Edith Holmsten, Staff Writer

From clubs formed just this year to clubs that have been at LASA for decades, COVID-19 has required them to adapt. Clubs have re-evaluated their format, methods of collaboration and projects in order to stay safe while also continuing their regular duties and activities. 

LASA’s Poetry, Robotics, Activism and Helping Hands for Children in Need clubs have used smaller groups, social media and independent projects to enhance their club experience during COVID-19. The clubs also met on Zoom to decide the format of their activities. 

The Helping Hands for Children in Need Club has formed new ways to volunteer with Dell Children’s Hospital, the Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE) Alliance and Posada Esperanza, a shelter for Latin American refugee families. Senior club officer Lois Lee explained how the club has adapted to virtual tutoring sessions with children at Posada Esperanza. 

“Normally, during the regular school year, we would go on a couple of visits to the actual shelter and be able to interact directly with the kids and do science experiments or really play games with them,” Lee said. “Because of COVID, we completely just switched into virtual-only with Posada.”

The club has also changed in small ways. In the spring, club members used new techniques for compiling care packages. 

“We normally create activity packages for Dell Children’s and deliver those,” Lee said. “During COVID in April or May, we had club members email in their little encouragement notes or poems or activities. Then we printed those and then mailed those to Dell Children’s.”

Similarly, the Robotics Club split up tasks to design machines. Robotics Head Coach Anthony Bertucci said that the club has used subgroups to combat the issue of team construction.

“We have identified what each person’s interest is, and then we’ve established seven subteam groups,” Bertucci said. “We’re going to allow the subteams to meet and start working on things such as the drive train, the programming, the electronics, the hydraulics, all that stuff, individually, and then we come together as a group.”

The Robotics Club has benefited from splitting up tasks to build devices, similarly the Activism Club is interested in dividing up work for education projects. Activism club founder and sophomore Jaelin Su noted that the club will split into two subgroups in order to work on their two main issues: education around police interactions and flu vaccines. 

“Next week, we’re going to split into two groups and have each group working on one of those things to come up with a plan and what medium they’re going to use and that kind of thing,” Su said. “So I’m really excited about that.”

Hoping to educate the public about a range of topics, Su noted that the spread of information is also different in a virtual format. Su acknowledged the importance of social media for their goals. 

“So as far as getting information out on the world, social media is a huge thing,” Su said, “These are a lot of things people care about, it affects people’s lives, and if you show them what the issues are, how it matters to them, how it matters to their peers, and their families and their friends, people get a lot more engaged in the content.” 

The Poetry Club also uses social media to form community outside of club meetings. Poetry Club founder and junior Eli Clark said that the club uses the internet to share optional poetry prompts which allow for greater unity.

“We want to create engagement, so one of our officers is sending out weekly prompts,” Clark said. “Even if you can’t come to the meeting, you can stil choose to use that and feel more connection when working with poetry.”

Along with prompts, club members have a choice during Zoom meetings between learning about poetry types or hearing other students’ work. Clark emphasized that the club added a second option of sharing students’ poetry, so members feel comfortable engaging. 

“The second one is sort of like an open mic space where students can share their own work,” Clark said. “I think [that] is something we hadn’t considered before but we want to have now so that way more people can participate.”

Forming groups, dividing up work and using social media has been fundamental for the Helping Hands for Children in Need, Robotics, Poetry and Activism clubs in adapting to distanced learning. Clark said the Poetry Club is hoping to use the club’s open mic to compile students’ writing in the coming months, and Lee said the Helping Hands for Children in Need Club is looking forward to more tutoring sessions and activities with children. Bertucci and Su are also excited to see their groups’ new ideas.

COVID-19 has caused clubs to sometimes drastically change their format. However, Bertucci understands that adaptation allows clubs to continue their work at LASA. 

“We’ve got to take it as it comes and figure it out,” Bertucci said. “That’s a real good life lesson.”