Berkeley High School (BHS) clubs had the opportunity to advertise themselves to the student body at the annual BHS Club Fair during lunch on Wednesday, September 8 through Friday, September 10.
In previous years, the Club Fair was held during class time, and teachers had to opt into taking their entire class to the fair. This year, the Club Fair looked different due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Having the fair at lunch was another casualty of [COVID-19], as admin is not currently allowing events like this to take place during class time,” said Olivia Eknoian, the chief of clubs and a BHS senior, in an email. “The Club Fair was spread out over three days in the hopes that each day would draw a smaller crowd (and would therefore lead to less exposure),” Eknoian wrote to the Jacket.
Wednesday’s Club Fair featured scholastic, performing, and political groups such as BHS Stop Harassing and the Speech and Debate Club. Thursday highlighted health and hobby clubs like the Body Positivity Club, the Physics Club, and the Wrestling Club. The fair ended on Friday with service-oriented, environmental, and cultural groups, including the BHS Zero Waste Club, the Black Student Union, and the Reading Buddies Club.
On each day of the fair, about 20 participating clubs set up folding tables on the campus green with posters, flyers, games, and candy. Approximately 60 out of the 71 registered clubs participated in the fair throughout the week. Many students walked around the fair with groups of friends, stopping at club tables that drew their interest.
Club tables had QR codes for students to scan with their phone cameras for COVID-19 contact tracing and to collect data on which clubs received the most interest. Eknoian said some clubs also had QR codes with more information about their club.
Students at the fair had mixed reactions to the changes from past years of this event.
Theo Lemkin, a sophomore in Berkeley International High School (BIHS), attended the Club Fair on Thursday. He said that different tables at the Club Fair could have been more spaced out in order to maximize COVID-19 safety.
“It [was] very crowded and that’s not very great [with COVID-19] and everything,” he explained.
Grace Camperi, a senior in Academic Choice (AC), was at the fair as the leader of the Film and Book Club. She said that she preferred having the fair at lunch time because she didn’t have to miss class to set up her table like she had in past years.
“[The Club Fair] was during class [in previous years] which kind of made it a little inconvenient because I … had to set up during class and so I had to miss some class work,” Camperi said.
Maddalena Walsh, a BHS freshman, said that she was hoping to join clubs and meet new people in them. She also wanted opportunities to try new things and to join clubs that would “look good on [her] college applications.”
She said the Club Fair did a good job of showing her all of her diverse and numerous options.
Camperi said that the Club Fair is her main strategy for attracting members to the Film and Book Club for the 2021-22 school year. She said that the fair did a good job of advertising BHS’ clubs to potential members.
Eknoian shared that overall, the fair turned out to be a success.
“Initially I thought that [having the Club Fair at lunch] would significantly lower attendance, but it turned out to be very successful,” Eknoian said. “We had high attendance all three days, and all of the clubs received at least some interest, which is ultimately the main goal.”