OCC clubs, organizations regain stride after COVID-19 setbacks

Data obtained by Coast Report shows that the number of clubs and organizations at Orange Coast College has fallen significantly since before the pandemic. 

Orange Coast College experienced a decrease in active student clubs and organizations between the spring 2020 and fall 2021 semesters as the pandemic shut down on-campus activities. 

OCC’s Student Life and Leadership office revealed the total number of registered clubs and organizations dropped nearly 70% after COVID-19 forced campus activities to operate virtually in March 2020. 

“Between the transition of spring 2020 and fall 2020, we had a lot of turnovers which is usually known as when students transfer,” Student Life and Leadership Specialist Grishma Patel said. “A lot of the students who were leading the clubs for the last couple of years transferred and didn’t have any leadership to pass it on to.”

Besides losing key members, having to meet solely online discouraged clubs and organizations to register for the following semester. Finding new and creative ways to maintain member engagement while meeting on Zoom became a struggle for many clubs.

“One of our main activities is educating on hands-on projects, where we would show how to work with software and machines. Since we can only work with software now, it’s more challenging to keep members engaged,” STEM Club President Truc Tran said. “[Members] find it harder to interact with one another, ask questions, and connect with the officers and advisor.”

Spending the last year online has been the biggest contribution to the decrease in student participation and club activations. The Student Life and Leadership office said the fall 2020 semester was the least active in club registrations and attendance at events since the COVID-19 shutdown. 

The Pirate Involvement Fair, held virtually from Sept. 20-24, had more students in attendance than last year. Being online, clubs and organizations were able to host recruitment booths for a week instead of a single on-campus event. With this extended event, club presidents found it challenging to anticipate how many students were going to show up. Some days clubs would have three to four students attend while other days 10 to 20 students visited their virtual booth. 

“This fall we have actually seen an increase, and I think that’s because there are a lot of students that are really interested in coming back and getting involved or just starting new clubs,” Patel said. 

Currently, there are 17 active clubs and organizations at OCC, which is expected to rise in the coming weeks, because the Inter-Club Council is in the process of accepting club activation requests. 

COVID-19 has left many students feeling stressed, isolated, and being cheated out of their college experience. Getting involved in a club or organization is highly beneficial for students and a great way to form connections from a distance. Joining a group of students that share common interests as a student is a way to strengthen leadership skills, make friends and interact with others while campus operations remain virtual.

 

For students who may be interested in getting involved, check out OCC’s active student clubs and organizations. If there is not a group already in existence that seems interesting, students are always encouraged to start a new club.

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