by John Mahon III EXCHANGE STAFF
photography by Elizabeth Clark
Many clubs are having difficulty retaining membership and remaining chartered, according to Associate Director of Student Involvement Bill Beardslee. Last semester, at least five clubs were removed from the charter.
The Democrat Club, the Jewish Student Alliance, the Public Relations Club, the Republican Club and the Students for a Better Tomorrow were some clubs dissolved last semester. Of those, only the Democrat Club has been reinstated this semester with new members.
“People got to want to be a club,” said Beardslee, who believes commitment is most important to club survival. “They got to want to put the energy in that will come back to them in sustained membership. They have to be on an edge of vitality and not just sit back and kind of let things go.”
Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is one club dissatisfied with attendance, although club President Matthew Campo feels the situation is rectifiable. “If we actually strap down and advertise events and there are snacks, people show up,” said Campo.
SSDP’s executive board agreed that clubs whose theme is offered as a major, such as the Psychology Club and the Ecology Club, have an advantage, joking that if drug policy were a Franklin Pierce major then membership would improve.
The Education Club Senator Corbin Wolf sees some truth in SSDP’s claim. “We have our strong core of people who attend. It’s primarily education majors,” he said.
Dylan Richards, a member of the Anthropology Club, said that despite the university’s anthropology curriculum “Anthropology Club doesn’t get a whole ton of people.”
Vice President of Clubs Cassie DeMontigny said the number of clubs on campus has been “going down.” Secretary of Clubs Lisa Bengiovanni added that many clubs “will be really popular for a couple years” before their eventual collapse. They both agreed that clubs composed mostly of seniors were in danger of disbandment, because after graduation there is no one to continue the club.
Beardslee offered the Public Relations Club as an example of this problem. “Those [senior] women who started it were very enthusiastic. They did all of that legwork. They just couldn’t get any sustained interest,” said Beardslee.
However, not all clubs are experiencing membership problems. The Anime Club President Erica Lowell expressed satisfaction with their numerous and enthusiastic club-goers, and Reality Check Senator Brittany DeGuisto reported 13 full-time members, which she considers adequate.
Last semester Reality Check along with the Underground Music Society were two new additions to the club roster, demonstrating that new clubs are still being approved by the Student Government Association (SGA) amid this challenging time for clubs.
Beardslee, who has seen many clubs come and go for various reasons, recommends that all clubs work to establish “a strong executive board that works together for the purpose of the club’s existence, and that learns how to communicate with each other.” He was also concerned that too many clubs were not utilizing the advantages of having a faculty adviser. “That person doesn’t need to be there every single meeting, but they could be helpful,” said Beardslee.