Eckerd College has over 80 clubs, yet only a portion are consistently arranging events and meetings. Club life is essential to relationships and diversity on campus and should be of more importance to Eckerd students.
Clubs are a fun way to spend free time after class, develop confidence and allow students to explore areas of interest. Clubs also create opportunities of leadership and exploring passions.
Club life is vital for students due to the climate they create. President of the Cheese Society Ainsley Parramore says that although the club has yet to host this year’s event, they normally have 50 students attend the events, drawn to the club’s sense of community.
“Club life brings out all the fun weird quirks about Eckerd and highlights who we are and what we like to do,” Parramore said.
Nick Dalton, ECOS Vice President of Financial Affairs, was able to shine a light on how certain clubs are more successful at obtaining members. According to Dalton, organization, social media and advertisement play a huge role in such success.
“The clubs that have the highest calibre of organization in addition to the biggest following of social media and extensive advertisements… generally have the most interest from the student body,” Dalton said.
Smaller clubs are still able to get a good following around campus because of the specific niche that they offer.
“Some of the smaller clubs obviously fit specific niches on campus that do not encompass a very wide range of student interest,” Dalton said. “They’re the small clubs on campus that are still essential to the functionality of Eckerd’s campus.”
According to Dalton, ECOS does not base the money they give on category or purpose, but rather how long the club has run. Clubs that have been established for a long time, like EC Feminists and International Student Associations, have built up a higher yearly budget. At the start of the year, club heads send a proposed yearly budget to ECOS. The financial allocations are decided based on that.
The Cheese Society was allocated $800, Parramore said. They generally spend $100 to $125 at each event, using the money toward cheese, cutting boards and knives.
A potential problem regarding club life could be the abundance of alerts students receive on a daily basis, due to emails being the primary method of communication at Eckerd.
“Emails are something that every student here is stressed out about,” Dalton said. “A lot of things could get lost in the high volume of emails that we get from all areas of campus,” Dalton said.
Having club Facebook and Instagram pages could be a possible solution to this problem. This gives students an easy and interactive way to keep track of clubs and get updates without the annoying emails.
According to Dalton, ECOS is trying to work on ideas to improve the way students obtain club information.
Dalton expressed that many students keep away from clubs because they assume they have to pay a membership fee. While this is true for clubs like Outdoor Adventure Club, most clubs are free to all members.
Another reason students refrain from joining clubs is because of club-sponsored events, Palmetto Productions and CPS events. There are lectures, movies and other events put on by the school on a weekly basis that are a great way for students to participate in without needing to organize.
“I think that some students may not necessarily want to take part in the organizational aspects of the club, but they still want to attend the events. Technically they are going to club functions,” Dalton said. “Why would they spend their precious time organizing an event, participating in a club, if they can just show up to the event?”
Whatever reason students have for avoiding club life, it is crucial to realize how clubs are a fundamental aspect of the college experience. Sophomore Kaitlyn Cole, who is involved in five clubs, agrees that club life is important.
“[It] adds diversity to your education and expands who you are as a person,” Cole said.
“Being involved on campus is one of the most magical parts about Eckerd, and one of the best ways to get to know people, to create friendships, develop relationships, find your own niche at Eckerd. I definitely think club life at Eckerd is extremely important,” Dalton said.
Even if only one club sparks an interest, students should still attempt to involve themselves in the opportunities at Eckerd. Campus Activities contains an entire list of different clubs creating a simple way to get in contact with heads about joining.