Countless Clubs

Karshana Kalyanaraman ’21 presents to potential members of HOSA at the first informational meeting.

Akshaya Kumar, Staff Writer

Karshana Kalyanaraman ‘21 has always had an interest in the healthcare field. “There was nothing that really complemented anybody’s healthcare interests yet, and I thought ‘Why not share that with other people?’” Kalyanaraman said. Since then, she has created a club called Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA), designed for medically inclined students to explore the healthcare field in a competitive environment.

HOSA is not the only club that has been created recently. Of the 46 active clubs here, 20% have been created in the past year. The rapid influx of clubs are offering the student body an increasingly diverse selection of groups to join. Among the new clubs are Business Club, Mini-Golf, Key Club, We the People, and Film Club.

The process of creating a new club is relatively simple. Once a student decides they want to create a new club, they contact the administrative assistant to the principal, Liz Sullivan. “The administrators along with Dr. Amendt created a fillable form,” Sullivan said. “I give them that form and also the policy [on student organizations].” The form asks students to describe important aspects of the club: the purpose statement, member requirements, potential club activities, a projected schedule, potential costs, staff sponsors, and the constitution of the club. Having completed the paperwork, the student proceeds to the next level of administration; Principal Ryan Woods speaks to the student and discusses the ideas for the club. If he approves it, a proposal must then be created for the school board.”

A variety of clubs have been approved in the past year, with some focusing on discussion and learning. Created by Paul Zhang ‘19, Business Club allows students to learn about investing and personal finance directly from experienced professionals in the field. On the other hand, We the People, a cultural diversity awareness club run by executive board member Arundhati Soni ‘19, uses discussion to encourage students to learn about other cultures. Other clubs focus on impacting Johnston. Precious Maryah Pate ‘20 created Key Club to serve as a leadership club designed to promote community service.

While each group has a varying purpose and targeted audience, the motivations for their creation are similar; each was established with the intent to share something unique with their peers. “If you have somebody who feels very passionate about something in their life and they want to make sure other students have an opportunity to share that passion or learn something about that group, then [creating a club] is a great way to do it,” Sullivan said.

Contrary to popular belief, the potential boost to a college application or resume is not the sole reason why clubs are created. “I don’t think colleges really care if you founded a club in your senior year,” Zhang said. “I honestly did this more for me and the people that wanted to do it.”

Despite the number of new clubs, student participation is not nearly as high as expected. Only a small portion of students are active members in majority of these new groups. “11 people came to the first meeting [of We the People]. After that, the numbers started falling,” Soni said. Only 10 consistent members are a part of Key Club. Of the projected 50+ members interested in joining HOSA, only half could come to the informational meetings held on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11, 2018. However, club leaders do not see this as a detriment.

“At first, obviously, I wanted a ton of people to do it but thinking realistically here, it’s not about how many people you have or who’s there; it’s about learning it for yourself,” Zhang said.

It is likely that even more clubs will be created in the future. “It’s the importance of finding your place inside the school,” Soni said. “All day, people are inside this environment where they probably don’t connect to others. If you have the same people around you, you can tell them about what you’re going through and make the environment more comfortable for yourself.”