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Re: “Deerfield, Pay Attention!” December 16, 2009

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In the December Scroll issue, the Editorial Board criticized our political groups for their inactivity during the greater part of this year. While it is not uncommon for the Young Republicans to meet only two or three times a year: once to decide on group merchandise (and I was truly disappointed not to see their catchy slogan on any sweatshirts or T-shirts this year), another for a Greer dance, and maybe a third to elect the next year’s presidents, I have been disappointed not only with the infrequency of Young Democrats meetings, but also with the small turnouts when they do meet. Yet it seems that this stagnancy is a problem that extends beyond just political organizations—many clubs have lost their “presence” on campus.

During my freshman year, it seemed that every school meeting and sit-down meal was followed by a number of club announcements—both those to notify its members about meeting times and also those to inform the rest of the community about the club’s activities. The Current Events Club had a tradition of presenting two headlines at the end of each school meeting: one serious news story and one that seemed a bit ridiculous.

Now, there is rarely time for even one club’s announcement at the end of a school meeting. And if they’d like to say more than a short blurb, they need to go on the schedule weeks in advance.

Part of the move for shortening announcements was to compensate for the growing number of groups that wanted to make them. Perhaps, then, our problem is that we have too many organizations. I’m not saying that if you have a unique interest, you shouldn’t pursue it, but before new groups are made, maybe they should be looking for others with similar interest and work collaboratively. The number of committees that seem to have nearly identical goals, yet don’t communicate with each other is staggering. I’ve heard stories from students who sit on two similar committees, yet the heads of these committees aren’t even aware that the other exists.

The question then arises—“Why do so many clubs and committees exist?” With a number of groups, including the Young Democrats and the Jewish Student Coalition, veering away from the four standard positions—president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer— and simply making all of their officers “Co-Presidents,” it would seem that students are more concerned with looking for significant titles to put on college applications than the clubs themselves. Students, in an effort to rack up as many positions as possible, are stretching themselves thin; as a result, the clubs are suffering.

In a class a few weeks ago, we joked that with so many committees at Deerfield, there should be another, “The Committee for the Advisement of Committees” to supervise them. But seriously, maybe a list should be made of all the clubs and committees so that the community can see what committees already exist and which ones can work together.

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