New Reviews New

SLAC’s new sub-committee reviews new club proposals, focuses on engaging students not currently involved in extracurriculars


Bayarmaa Bat-erdene

Stevenson’s new Student Leader Advisory Council (SLAC) New Club Proposal Sub-Committee met on Jan. 13 for the second time in school history to hear from students looking to start new clubs for the fall 2022 semester. Prospective clubs require a form submitted to Ted Goergen, Director of Student Activities, and a screening by Goergen before they are presented to the SLAC student leaders.

During the meeting, students presenting a new club proposal shared information including the basis and purpose of the club, expected meeting times and possible activities for meetings. SLAC representatives from various Stevenson clubs then questioned the presenters and made a recommendation to Principal Troy Gobble on whether or not the club should be introduced for the next semester.

The new club process was previously on a rolling submission basis with just Goergen and Gobble talking to those who proposed new opportunities. However, once there was an appropriate amount of activities for students, the philosophy shifted toward creating new clubs for the 7 to 10 percent of students not involved in anything at school.

“About five years ago, we really started to consider how we use data to make those decisions,” Goergen said. “We’re not trying to provide more opportunities for the same kids to get involved. Our focus now is, how do we attract students who currently are not involved?”

Current student leaders have a unique understanding of clubs that has led the way for SLAC’s new sub-committee. Goergen believes that while himself and Gobble understand the workings of Stevenson, student leaders have insight into what will effectively interest the student body and the process of running a sustainable club.

Evelyn Jiang ’22 was one of the SLAC representatives present for the proposals. She serves on the sub-committee with leadership experience in Spanish Honor Society, Strings Board and Debate Club. Through her work on the new sub-committee, her student leadership experience is used to select clubs that have what they need to survive and grow over time.

“For me, a successful club at Stevenson should be able to renew its membership demographic each year—the club shouldn’t just be a ‘check-in-for-a-year and be done,’” Jiang said. “Successful clubs are also ones that appeal to more than just one archetype of a student because that sense of diversity allows the club to be shaped in multiple dimensions to expand and attract even more students to join.”

Richard Lu ’24 and Phi Nguyen ’24 held this same ideology in their proposal for Video Game Club. Though similar clubs already exist, the pair noticed a need for students to work together in game development and coding, with special attention paid to engaging new areas of the student population who may be searching for this type of collaboration and support.

“We originally decided to propose the idea of a video game development-oriented club because we realized there’s a lack of community for those who want to show their hard work in the area of game development,” Nguyen said. “Not only that, we believe that there’s a lack of equal emphasis for the coding and visual aspect of game development.”

With the opportunity to speak to current student leaders, prospective club creators not only presented their ideas, but gained insight as well. Lu says he valued the input that the sub-committee offered after the proposal as it propelled further discussion about the club.

“Needless to say, presenting in front of the sub-committee was utterly nerve-racking, yet the experience was equally exciting in the sense that we felt as if our ideas were being directly heard by the school and, more so, within the realm of possibility of becoming reality,” Lu said. “The subsequent questioning segment truly revealed to us that our ideas were openly accepted and that the leaders had the sole intention of helping us make our plan more plausible.”

Many clubs won’t make it through the process, but the purpose of the sub-committee remains to continue getting more students involved in activities at Stevenson. In doing so, SLAC works alongside administration in pursuit of Stevenson’s mission of “success for every student.”

“The committee itself was very diverse in its backgrounds—I think we collectively gave insight that would’ve been hard for just the administration to see without student input, and I think that is the best part of having this committee in SLAC,” Jiang said. “Overall, it is just a great outlet for students to present an idea they want more students to get in on.”