Check Out These Clubs!
One of the leadership opportunities available at Severn School is the privilege for students to create and run clubs. There are over twenty clubs here at Severn, but there are certain clubs in particular that we would like to highlight this week. The clubs presented are some of Severn’s most unique and innovative organizations. The student leaders have worked very hard to create and manage their clubs. Each club has its own special mark that it is making at Severn School. Sit back, put your feet up, and read all about these clubs that are making a difference in our community.
SWAG Club: Supporting Women Around the Globe
Club leaders: Yasmeen Meek and Addy Porter
Yasmeen Meek: Freshman year, I was talking to Ms. Teagarden about Severn’s diversity initiatives and clubs, and we noticed that no one really focused on how gender affects one’s experience. We spoke to several students and found that there was enough interest to start a club. We decided to create a club that would highlight the female experience around the world and how gender roles can impose limitations on all genders.
This year, we are sponsoring Nandhini, a ten year old girl from India, and her education. This week, we held a bracelet sale to fundraise for our sponsorship. Fifty percent of girls in India never get the opportunity to go to school, and an estimated forty-seven percent of girls in India are married before the age of 18 (my great-grandmother was married off at age 14). Education gives people a sense of their freedoms and human rights, and it also contributes to their economic productivity and self-sufficiency. I am glad that the S.W.A.G. club can play a role in helping Nandhini receive the opportunity of education. In the following months, we are planning on holding a kid-friendly workshop on gender roles at the Lower School. Sophie Connors (co-founder) and I did something similar a couple of years ago and we got a lot of positive feedback, so I want to organize one formally as a club!
Gender roles, sexism, etc., are uncomfortable topics. It’s hard to quantify the extent of sexism or how gender roles affect people, because statistics can only show so much. For example, I mentioned this in my Morning Meeting presentation last year, but suicide affects men three and a half times more than women. Experts hypothesize that this is due to several factors, including how socially constructed gender roles can make men less likely to seek help when battling a mental illness, and how they can pressure men to feel like they have to be the breadwinner of the family, creating financial stress. According to the White House, in the United States, white women make 77 cents for every dollar a white man makes, African-American women make 64 cents, and Latina women make 56 cents. It’s challenging to combat statistics without a conscious effort by individuals to recognize and work towards eliminating a problem within their community. This can be hard when the problem is difficult to discuss. Combating sexism and the negative effects of gender roles is one of the ultimate “adaptive challenges”, and I hope that as a club, S.W.A.G. can help make these uncomfortable topics a little more comfortable to talk about at Severn.
I have been passionate about this topic since I was seven years old and my grandma told me that she was the only girl in her village to go to school. Her father marched up to the school house and said that his daughter would be receiving the same amount of education as his sons. Now, she has a Ph.D. in Computer Science. My grandmother is my inspiration because she did not let her gender be her limitation.
Introduction to Medical Science Club
Club leaders: Olivia Smith, Reegan Morris, Elizabeth Chappell, Caroline Bayless, and Devon Beagan
Devon Beagan: The IMS (Introduction to Medical Studies) club was founded by Olivia Smith, Devon Beagan, Reegan Morris, Caroline Bayless, and Elizabeth Chappell. The IMS club first started as a common interest: we all wanted to make students at Severn more aware of what life could be like as a doctor. Our goals for the year include: looking deeper into different types of medical fields, meeting doctors and learning about their experiences, and exploring different hands-on experiences. The IMS club is broadening the horizons of what can be considered a club at Severn. The IMS club allows students to be interested in medicine and learn about the field before taking a pre-med course in college. This club is important to me because it is something I want to do in the future. The IMS club allows me to explore deeper into the field I am interested in (emergency medicine) and provide insight for what that field may entail. This club allows me to meet doctors, perform different hands-on experiences, and get a head start before college. Although this club is just starting out, we’ve already had a huge turnout of 68 students, which shows that this club is important to others as well.
Club leader: Sarah Peeler
Sarah Peeler: Vinyl Club started out as a conversation with Dr. Perez and another classmate in my freshman year study hall. We started talking about music, albums we loved, and the resurgence in popularity of vinyl records lately. We would have these conversations about music all the time and by the end of the year, we had the idea of making a club about vinyl [records]. We want to get out more in the community this year and spread an appreciation for vinyl. That is definitely our number one goal. Last year we didn't do much, and it was a very small club with only a few people at the meetings. As my mother would say, it was a building year for us; we were just trying to establish ourselves as a club. We want to do some school-wide events this year and spread a love for music on vinyl.
There has never been a club like this at Severn before, so it's something different. The main purpose of this club is to have a place where people can have a break from the stress of school and share their love of music with other people. That's been the purpose since day one. Music is a big thing for me. I love going to concerts and listening to the latest albums, so to have a place to share my passion for music is an incredible thing. I love bringing in new albums and having fantastic discussions about music. Vinyl club is always a big highlight for my week and I'm glad I have found people who feel the same as I do.
Club leader: John Owen
John Owen: I have no idea how Robotics was founded. The club has been around since before I came to Severn. One of our goals consists of entering a competition called BotBall where we make a robot from materials that the competition provides us and program it to do a certain task. Personally, I have always been interested in engineering and robotics, and I enjoy having a club pertaining to my interests. As a whole, we are trying to increase interest in things like robotics and programming in the Severn community.
Club leader: Patrick Wong
Patrick Wong: I took an interest in Photography last year and noticed that Severn didn't have a club. I approached Ms. Kapsos and she loved the idea so we started the club. We want to host weekly photo competitions and teach our club members different photography skills. We are trying to recognize the student talent here at Severn. We also are trying to capture the beauty of our school. This club is important to me because I believe it is important to photograph the things that go unnoticed on a daily basis.
The Umbrella Club- Mental Health Awareness
Club leaders: Mackenzie Durner, Gabby Donato, Katie Schuh, and Molly Digregory
Molly DiGregory: The umbrella club was founded by a group of students and a guidance counselor who were determined to spread awareness and educate the Severn community about of variety of mental illnesses. We realized that mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, substance use, and different psychotic disorders can be easily overlooked and misunderstood. Our club name, “The Umbrella Club,” represents our attempt to shelter everyone from the storm; “the storm” being any negative labels, stress, or other issues a student may be struggling with. We want our club to be a safe space for everyone, and we hope we can make a difference in the Severn Community.
The group leaders have been working very hard to open the conversation about mental illness and inform the community about different tactics they can use to help others. Those who suffer from any illness or disability might feel alone, and the Umbrella Club is a place for anyone they know who may be struggling. One of our goals is to get rid of the negative connotation and the improper use of specific disabilities. When people use the term, “bipolar,” they don’t realize how much that term can affect those who might be suffering from it.
The Severn community may not be aware how many students are struggling with various forms of anxiety, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, or other types of mental illnesses, and our club wants the community to be aware and supportive of all types of illness. We are creating a bulletin board outside of Roche where we plan to have “notes of hope” during exam time and leave educational handouts for people to read. We want our board to be an interactive part of the Severn community where people who may not be comfortable talking openly in a club can still have an outlet to receive support from our club.
The Umbrella Club leaders each have a special reason why this club is important to each of us. Whether it is a personal story or experience, or something that has happened to a friend or family member, mental illness is a big part of each of our lives. We all know how important it is to have an outlet and know that someone is there for you when needed. We want to show our support for the community and hopefully stop as many preventable problems as we can by being the support and safe space for the community.
So, there you have it – the lowdown on some of the new and most active clubs on campus. Next time we have clubs go check them out and learn something new!