With the recent pandemic leaving many students feeling lonely and disconnected, the International Club just might be the place to meet new people and learn about the unique diversity in the West Community.
“I have always believed that someone decides to join a club because they enjoy the environment and they also feel comfortable during meetings,” senior club president David Huerta said. “Therefore, the International Club works to fit the personality of most of our members in order to motivate them to join and bring friends too.”
International Club has relied on people inviting their friend to join in the past as a form of requirement. This year they have relied more on social media like Instagram to recruit members. However, that is not all they have used Instagram for but also to spread multicultural awareness.
“Instagram has been an amazing platform, where we post on a weekly basis a “DIY” post with a crafting activity to do, a “bite” post with a multicultural recipe, and last but not least a “fact” post with a random fact about cultures around the world,” Huerta said. “I strongly believe the Instagram account has become a new interactive component of the club, and our members have given us very positive feedback from it.”
Like many others, the International Club has relied on social media and virtual platforms to communicate with club members and host meetings every two weeks. The meetings are hosted via Google Meets (a link can be found on their Instagram), and they utilize Remind to announce meetings and updates.
However, even with the tight handle on utilizing the technology at their disposal, the club has faced difficulties, including consistency with members attending the meetings, and have seen less growth than in previous years.
“We acknowledge that a decent number of our members have other responsibilities such as work, taking care of siblings, and so on, which blocks them from participating in the meetings,” Huerta said. “I believe that if this was a normal year, the number of members would have grown tremendously, but due to the reality we are facing, it has been complicated to maintain the meetings the way we want.”
Low membership is not the only way the club has been affected by COVID, but the overall activities and experience of the club, including being unable to have the small potlucks and parties they have in the past. Even so, the officers are still hard at work on activities that can be done in the current environment.
“We have tried to develop and test a few activities and fun games about a specific holiday, but we are still figuring out how to make it more dynamic and interactive,” Huerta said. “It has been a struggle to plan events like the ones we did in the past due to the pandemic, and I find it difficult to in the near future have an event like that due to COVID, but we never know what can happen.”
Even with the current environment, the club is still hopeful and has plans for future activities. Including having more students join and being able to host another multicultural assembly as they did two years ago. For now, they remind themselves of their club’s slogan and keep moving forward.
“A slogan which the club focuses on a ton is ‘make new friends,’ we have it on our posters around the school, and it is the purpose of most of our meetings,” Huerta said. “‘Make new friends and travel the world by learning about different cultures and traditions.”