Culture / Student Life

Club Organizers Revive Hunter Social Life On and Off Campus

A column with a multitude of announcements from clubs and organizations in the North Building.

From early 2020 to late 2021, the halls of Hunter College were eerily empty. No students walked through the usually bustling hallways and the sky bridges that once were abundant with students sitting and eating lunch on the sides were empty. The clubs and classes that thrived with student engagement were instead reduced to Zoom rooms that would remain largely silent.

The decision to come back to campus for the Fall of 2021 was hailed by former President Jennifer Raab as exciting for both students and faculty. The campus had been empty for nearly three full semesters. 

Fast forward to now and the halls of Hunter College are busy as they once were. Students are back on the sky bridges. Student club organizers, however, are now working on reviving the social life at Hunter.

There are numerous activities on campus — from bubble tea parties to the comeback of the club fair — and student engagement is slowly but steadily coming back to Hunter College. 

Annabel Savarese, the secretary at the Queer Student Union, an up-and-coming club, thinks that there are a multitude of benefits to being in clubs and finding people that think alike. 

“There’s just so much going on on campus,” she said. “But it is in these smaller spaces where you find the connections and the people you are gonna stay friends with throughout your college experience.”

Freshmen who are just coming to Hunter have the opportunity to broaden their social abilities by attending these events that are unique and catered to people’s interests, Savarese said. 

However, the pandemic left a feeling of isolation that is felt by upperclassmen who went through the struggles of trying to socialize in a world without in-person communication. 

Litzy Antonio, the president of the Queer Student Union who is now a junior, said the main difference between club engagement immediately post-pandemic and now is student behavior during meetings.

“There was very low response from students,” she said. “We all became very awkward. It was very difficult to connect with people.”

But now that students have come back to campus fully, student club leaders are taking steps to expand their outreach and bring back the fun social aspects of a club at Hunter.

“We are connecting through Instagram and Discord,” Antonio said, highlighting the fact that the best way to bring back those aspects is to listen to what students specifically want through their preferred communication methods. “We want them to ask us what they want to see. We want to make sure it is very engaging.”

Two years ago, group Zoom meetings led to little interaction among what should be like-minded peers. Now club organizers like Antonio and Savarese get to directly hear and interact with club members and make sure everyone is comfortable and active.

“We are club organizers, but we don’t want to be the ones telling everyone what we are doing,” Savarese said. 

Peter Manos, the president of the Greenbelt Society, which focuses on environmentalist engagement among students, also reached out to different students through the club’s Instagram and emails. 

By doing so, their club has fostered a strong community through different activities like tree plantings and coastal cleanups which were posted on Instagram.

Some members of the club have connected to such a degree that they are taking those connections outside of the time allowed at Hunter.

“Our club has really created a community,” Manos said. “Some of us are going on a non-club sponsored camping trip together in a couple of weeks in Pennsylvania which I’m super excited about.”

All thanks to the work club organizers are putting in to maximize their outreach, Hunter is getting its social spark back. 

As the school year continues and students keep attending these events, Hunter College, now more than ever, can have the certainty that clubs are now more than ever listening to student demands and keeping them connected.

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