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New Clubs Spark Student Interests

Applications flying everywhere, club leaders frantically searching for available advisors, and students printing out last minute club constitutions overwhelm the Paly campus on club day as clubs prepare for the upcoming year. Paly offers a variety of clubs such as the Future Medical Leaders, Young Democrats, Teens Against Text Driving and Zero Robotics are some of the few clubs that will be appearing on Paly campus.

Student Activities Director, Matt Hall, and Associated Student Body (ASB) Vice President Soo Song, have reviewed numerous club applications for many days to see which clubs will be within the students’ interests, which will be able to merge together, and which will not appear on club day.

“Our job is to determine which clubs are viable entities that will exist on the campus to the next semester or the next year,” Hall said. “The student body determines which clubs they want to support or which to join. That’s why we have club day.” says Hall.

Some new clubs were forced to merge together due to similar goals and objectives. For example, one of the new clubs, Paly Democrats Club, led by senior Yoko Kanai, was combined with the Young Democrats club, led by juniors, Addie McNamara and Sama Rao.

“[Paly ASB] saw that there were two Democratic clubs applying to be chartered on club day.” Kanai said. “But they[Paly ASB] didn’t want to charter  two Democratic clubs, so they just kinda merged us together.”

However, the two clubs brought together by similar objectives and common interests look forward to working together to attract new members to their Democratic club.

The Paly Democratic club’s purpose is to attract student interest in the Obama campaign for the 2012 elections and future Democratic campaigns.

“Our interest is in specific things in the United States, such as welfare or women’s rights,” Kanai said.” We focus more on issues on the national level unlike Model United Nations club or the Foreign Policy club which focuses more on the international issues. We want to keep the the club small enough to focus on these issues more in depth.”

“Paly is a very politically concerned school,” Paly club member Addie McNamara said. “And we believe and hope that many students will sign up for our club.”

However, many of the new clubs fear certain issues may conflict with their club such as maintaining membership, fundraising for their clubs, keeping their clubs alive throughout the school year and learning to be a new leader in a new club.

“I think that membership may falter in the spring, especially when the elections are over, people won’t see a reason to stay in our club,” Rao said. “However, we’re gonna try to keep them involved in the club by having activities throughout the year.

Some of the new clubs believe that they have the potential to attract new members to make an impact on other students at Paly such as the Zero Robotics club, led by junior Kavya Ramakrishan.

The Zero Robotics is a programming competition on the international and national scale that allows high school students to write programs that may control a satellite in space. Students in the tournament will work in team to use applications and programming to advance to 2D and 3D, thus, gradually increasing in difficulty.

However, the Zero Robotics club differentiates from the Paly Robotics club. The Paly Robotics club is more widely known and competes in a robotics competition in St. Louis, Missouri in the spring.

Ramakrishan believes that members who are passionate about robotics and computer programming are able to attend both clubs with no conflict in between.

“The annual Zero Robotics club only takes place in the fall, while the robotics competition takes place in the spring,” Ramakrishnan said. “Thus, members of both clubs are able to maintain their membership in both clubs and will be able to attend both tournaments with no conflict.”

However, Ramakrishan believes that she will face monetary issues due to expensive flight tickets, hotels and food during their tournament at MIT.

“We hope to get some discounts from flights such as United Airlines because the Paly Robotics team was able to fly to St. Louis for the robotics tournament because of their flight discount.” Ramakrishnan said. “So I hope United Airlines still offers that discount for us too.”
Each of the over 60 clubs at Paly provides students a different experience and bring something new to the Paly campus.

“I’m really excited to see what some of the new clubs will bring to the Paly campus this year,” Song said.

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