In today’s world where academic achievement receives disproportionate emphasis, we often underestimate the virtues of student clubs. Not only do they allow fine tuning of skills but they are often the reason students go to college.Faustina Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Every trip to the staff room meant a glimpse of the college dark room for Reginald Johnson, a physics student. The sight of the rarely used dark room set his mind thinking. Thought soon led to action— the formation of a college photography club which allowed the members to discuss, use the dark room facility, and aid those members who had few resources but an ardent interest. He could now borrow expensive equipment like enlargers, develop his own pictures at ease, and share ideas with like minded people. The year was 1974. Now, 38 years later, Johnson fondly remembers how the club helped him put to use his passion —photography.
College student clubs are entities of zealous minds and voluntary labour. Student clubs may not always be recognised officially by the college. Nonetheless, they are a platform for exposure, work and socialising. “College clubs are the best place to interact with like-minded people,” says Sneha Yamarti, who was an active member of a club in St. Francis College. Interest oriented, these student clubs might be anything, with Eco clubs being the most common.
St. Xavier’s PG College, Hyderabad has a grand collection of student clubs ranging from a Quiz Club to an eco club, called Greenlands, and even an Investment Club (Money Makers). Each department here, has a club devoted to their subject. The Social Management department operates Smile, the Psychology Department, Psycon, the Mass communication department has Drishti.
“I initially joined a lot of clubs to feel more like a student,” says Shruthi E, who was in the organising committee of a number of clubs in Christ College. The sentiment is completely understandable. The feeling of belonging, an essential part of college life, is a great boost to personal development.“Being part of the clubs at Francis was a lot of fun and more than anything else you realise the sense of responsibility. Each member has a role to play in the success of the club,” Sneha points out. What with having to skip lunch or stay late to attend meetings, it demands much time from the students, due to which, many may drop out, or become inactive. Ultimately, it is the most passionate who stick it through, and the effort is completely worth it. These dedicated members leave with a cache of newly learnt skills — time management, handling people, subtle skills.
In colleges like St Francis, where the clubs are very active, they take care of everything from planning and organising events, stalls, cultural programmes, to single handedly managing college fest, funding, etc. The students’ dedication is evident in their effort.
Most clubs have a core committee elected by the students. In Christ College, members of this committee are selected based on skills displayed handling tasks set by teachers. The commerce committee selection, for instance, usually includes planning a virtual campaign. While such a meritocracy might come with disadvantages (bad communication, jealous classmates, etc) it certainly ensures that the talent is in the right place, for commendable work.
Often times these clubs are established to feed rather unusual interests. The Hyderabad Central University boasts of a bird watcher’s club. They may also exist in slightly different forms, like the student organisation in Loyola Academy which works for human rights issues. These may not fit into the traditional definition of a student club, but share the structure and functioning of one — that of bringing together like minded people with a cause.
“Everyone in the club is highly supportive. As a member, you receive a lot of encouragement,” Shruthi smiles. Student clubs have come to be integral to the very functioning of the college by increasing the quality of education, inspiring and maintaining passion in the courses chosen, and enormously stepping up the appeal of the institution.