Prior to the onset of COVID-19, Drew’s campus was extremely active, with over 60 clubs. According to the university’s website, there were clubs from everything to arts, culture and academics. Now, just two years later, only a fraction of those clubs are still in existence on campus. If students do not get involved now, campus clubs may entirely disappear, leaving Drew’s campus community with a gaping hole.
Over the past year, a major topic of conversation at Club Town Hall meetings has been recruitment. Many clubs have indicated their concerns over student involvement, despite leadership efforts.While clubs are seeing increased underclassmen membership, because of the lack of upperclassmen involvement freshmen are often asked to take on leadership positions typically held by experienced juniors and seniors.
Insanity’s Horse, Drew’s literary magazine, is also struggling, according to Managing Editor Emma-Li Downer (‘23). Throughout the pandemic, the club conducted Zoom meetings, but never printed a physical copy of the magazine. Now, for the first time in years, they’ve had to manage InDesign with no prior knowledge and little assistance, as many upperclassmen who used to do printing have graduated. The combination of upperclassmen with minimal pre-pandemic experience and freshmen adjusting to college life puts Drew’s clubs at risk of extinction.
To prevent this from becoming a cycle, students need to get more involved in campus club life. Doing so will provide countless new opportunities, such as giving back to the community, making friends and finding new passions, while also being a great addition to a resume.
For students, and freshmen in particular, club involvement is great for creating broader social circles. It can be daunting to talk to people in the spur of the moment, clubs make it easy to gather with students who have a similar interest. Clubs offer a way to connect with classmates after years of limited social interaction.
Clubs also help students make a mark on the community. The Drew Environmental Action League (DEAL) and Student Government both have a direct impact on nature and community at Drew, respectively. Students who want to better the campus or the area surrounding Drew can do so by getting involved with these sorts of service clubs. Instead of struggling to find volunteer opportunities and organize events on their own, with the assistance of established clubs, students can get to doing and launch initiatives.
In addition, clubs are a great way to discover new passions and cultures. For example, joining clubs like That Medieval Thing, The Football Team or an acapella group on the spur of the moment could unlock an entirely new passion for medieval-inspired activities, drama or singing, while creating a tight-knit community of friends for the rest of your time at Drew.
Despite the significant negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on campus club life, students have the power to bring it back to what it once was. It’s time for the Drew community to take action and start joining.