Blossoming of Clubs at SI
The Female Athletic Empowerment club displays growth and change in SI's club roster.
Whether students are interested in chess, fishing, Disney movies, or art therapy, SI has a club that can accommodate their quirks and interests. SI is known for its wide variety of extracurricular activities, with clubs being one of the biggest opportunities to join a group passionate about the same things as you. With over 100 clubs currently run by the student body, there essentially isn’t an interest or hobby that doesn’t have a group hosting meetings. From anything to journalism, baking, politics, or community service, SI has a balance of leisure and academic clubs.
Although there are many clubs present at the school today, clubs have evolved over the decades. To learn about how this has changed, Mr. Robert Vergara, an SI alumni and upper division history teacher, gave some insight into what the club landscape looked like in the 1970s. “The chess club and computer club were part of SI in the 1970s. SI Outbound worked tutoring students at grammar schools. The Forum was the club for speech and debate,” said Mr. Vergara. While the chess club remains an active club today, the computer club evolved into theComputer Science Club. SI Outbound holds similarities to the service-focused CSF, which tutors middle schoolers. The Forum club has simply become the Speech and Debate club. “Other clubs do not exist any more: Ambient, concerned with cleaning the environment, Art and Publicity painted posters to publicize games and events. The Sanctuary Society was about as old as SI. Its members acted as altar boys for Masses,” added Mr. Vergara.
Although the Ambient Club has somewhat become Green Team, the other clubs have ceased. The Block Club, which was around long before the 70s, was considered the service club and only open to athletes. However, Mr. Vergara noted that the Service Club, which came about in 1970, was created as an opportunity for non-athletes to do service. Since the establishment of the Service Club, SI blossomed into a school that encourages and promotes community service across the student body, and many clubs now emphasize the importance of volunteering and outreach.
As for the affinity groups, SI originally had fewer than today. BSU and ASC were two of the original affinity groups at SI, with BSU having celebrated their 50 year anniversary last month. Since then, ALAS, AMA, JAG, and PIA have added diversity and rich narratives to the SI community. Since becoming co-ed, SI welcomed a wide range of female led and operated clubs.The GEAR Club, which centers female voices in the fight for gender equality, and Girls in Journalism, an all-female publishing club, are just a few examples of women-run organizations that elevate the female experience in a male-dominated school environment. Clubs at SI have transitioned over the decades to include the narratives of groups that struggled to find a place among a predominantly white institution. SI has developed into a place where affinity groups, clubs run by women, and leisure clubs that support the myriad of passions and interests of the student body can blossom.
Mia Messinger '24 is a Vol. 71 Contributing Editor