Post-Analysis: Virtual Clubs

By Kayla Henderson, Staff Photographer, May 2020

With classes being moved online, every aspect of Nobles has changed, including clubs. Considering the new online format and schedule, club leaders and faculty were actively trying to keep the spirit of Nobles alive through having club meetings over Zoom at a schoolwide available time. While some clubs seem to have somewhat benefitted from this change, others have had to completely modify the way the club is run.

For some, being able to interact with other students and teachers is an essential part of being in the club. So, how were they able to adapt to this new format? For instance, Cooking Club normally spends its class periods making and eating different recipes, but needed to shift to an at-home format. “I realized that, for the time on Zoom, I needed to come up with something that people could watch or do. I did a live cooking demo of something that was completely substitutable, so no matter what you had in your house, you could have made it,” Cooking Club faculty advisor Gia Batty said.

Credit: Google Calendar

For other clubs, not meeting in person meant that the content had to change as well. Celia Dorsey (Class I), who helped lead the Nobles Theater Collective (NTC), said, “We had been communicating a lot, trying to brainstorm ways to keep students involved. One way was by becoming more discussion-based and talking about things that were relevant to the current time, such as the role of performing arts and how that has shifted with quarantine.” Despite not having a show this spring, the NTC is still determined to keep the students involved and interested in the performing arts.

Some other clubs, like Ethics Club who count on this time of year to prepare for their main competitions, have adapted in other ways. “Since our Yale Ethics Bowl and the National Ethics Bowl in the summer both got canceled, we have been using our virtual meetings just to have ethical conversations rather than to prepare for something concrete,” Co-leader of Ethics Club Olivia Hayward (Class II) said. While these two competitions are no longer happening this year, the Nobles ethicists remain excited for the opportunity to compete next year.

Credit: Olivia Hayward

Similarly, the Environmental Action Committee (EAC) had been working tirelessly throughout the year to prepare for its 50th Earth Day celebration. “We had several Zoom calls over… [a] few weeks to prepare for and shift that celebration to a virtual platform. Since we couldn’t have Earth Day activities going on at school, we had to find online alternatives with different organizations, like webinars and live streams,” Co-president of EAC Olivia Cheung (Class II) said.

Luckily, despite the shift in format, participation in clubs seemed to be up. “People seemed to be more willing to contribute than they would have been in person. For example, new people had been joining our club meetings who had not attended in the past. Now that everyone had the information to access all the clubs, it gave people the opportunity to explore new areas of interest,” Co-leader of Ethics Club Grace Hayward (Class II) said. Students who might not have attended any clubs normally were now able to access them at the touch of a button and without missing any other school activities.

Ultimately, these clubs provided students with a sense of normalcy that they might not be able to otherwise get. For example, the Jewish affinity group Kehilla “has mainly just been checking in and making sure that everyone is okay. During this time, having that sense of community is really important. Nobles is doing a great job making sure that people have that affinity space to express how they are feeling and be supported by people who share some of the same characteristics, such as religion,” Danielle Frankel (Class III), one of the leaders of Kehilla, said.

Whether you join a new club every week or are a leader of a club you created, all Nobles students use club meetings as a way to get more involved with both the community and their classmates. Despite shifting to Virtual Nobles, students were no less inclined to participate in activities that bring them a sense of joy and support. Considering that some clubs benefitted from this change through increased participation, it raises the question: will clubs retain the tactics they had implemented during this period of Virtual Nobles? Or will they revert back to the old style of club meetings? Only time will tell.

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