In the midst of virtual school, the large, performance-based Asian American Club (AAC) and its many sub-clubs at Jones are working hard to find creative ways to keep their members engaged and recruit new ones.
For AAC President Linlin Cao ‘21, this means postponing many events rather than canceling them, so members still have events to look forward to.
“Night on the Terrace is a big AAC event hosted each year outside on the 7th floor sometime in October where members perform and food and blankets are provided,” said Cao. “We’re postponing that until the spring so AAC members still have a performance to prepare for.”
AAC is even still trying to include newer events in their calendar.
“We began Holi Fest last year, where we welcome in spring by throwing colored powder at each other in the courtyard. We’re hoping to do it again this year if we have the time and the pandemic allows us to,” Cao said.
Seasonal events, however, must be canceled or replaced.
“Our Lunar New Year Festival typically happens in January or February, but it doesn’t look like the pandemic is going to let up by then, so we’ve had to cancel,” Cao said. “I’m looking to possibly do an additional event near the end of the year, though, to celebrate the graduating seniors and have some fun.”
The cancelation of events like the Lunar New Year Festival has hit some sub-clubs particularly hard, like the Arts and Empowerment Club, led by Lina Pham ‘22.
“It’s been difficult for our club this year because we make visual art, which can’t really be shown online,” said Pham. “Last year, we decorated the whole lobby around Lunar New Year, but this time around we aren’t quite sure what to do.”
Pham has been able to recruit many new members for her club this year, though.
“I submitted a video to the virtual club fair, and a lot of freshmen signed up,” Pham said. “I think it’s a good way for them to make friends in a virtual setting, and I’ve been trying to keep everyone engaged with Google meets where we do crafts like origami.”
While Arts and Empowerment Club has attracted new recruits, other AAC sub-clubs, such as Stacy Lin’s ‘21 Girl’s K-pop Club, have been struggling a bit more.
“Since we are a performance and dance-based group, people have definitely been less engaged this year,” said Lin. “It’s hard to teach and critique dances virtually.”
Despite some sub-clubs’ rockier transition to online meetings, Cao maintains that AAC is doing well overall and that things are running as smoothly as they can during a pandemic.
“We haven’t been able to have a general AAC meeting yet, because coordinating over a hundred people is difficult, but I’ve checked in with sub-club leaders a few times and they are pretty happy,” Cao said. “Performance-based sub-clubs are definitely struggling a little, but ones with more solitary activities available have been thriving.”
To promote the club and hopefully increase engagement, AAC is also planning to launch a website in the near future.
“We’d like to have an archive of past showcases and the history of AAC at Jones, a section where people can find out a bit more about the sub-clubs, and we’re going to have a merch section because our sweatshirts were a big hit last year!” said Cao. “I’m just happy we have new ideas and that AAC is still growing during all this craziness.”