Despite an online learning environment, the Japanese club has remained one of the few active clubs still flourishing. With around 30 members and eight officer positions, Japanese club president Josephine Lowery says the club has stayed active and hosted several events throughout the quarters.
Club advisor Nami Inoue said even before the pandemic hit the Japanese club was firmly established at Clark. Most officers were in 200 Japanese-level courses making it easy to hold regular meetings and have people involved routinely.
“We kept trying new things,” said Lowery. “We didn’t think we’d be able to do activities that would be more hands-on so we did presentations at first, and then we thought of more activities like sending packages and so we tried that last quarter and we had a much bigger turnout for that.”
Lowery said she understood that incentives were a big portion of why students come out to events and clubs so she tried that. “We wanted to help people who felt lonely during this time and didn’t have the opportunity to make friends.”
The Latinx club was unable to adapt to an online environment and has been inactive for all of the academic year, but Clark student Abigail Chicas Lopez wants to change that. Lopez started as a running start student and since graduating high school has continued her time at Clark working as a peer mentor for the office of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Lopez’s first language isn’t English so she struggled to adapt and find her community within Clark. Coming from a diverse high school such as Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies, Lopez described moving to Clark as a big culture shock. She said the Latinx club was helpful in finding like-minded people.
“Being in the Latinx club, felt like being at home with my family,” said Lopez. “The very first class I had was English 101 almost everyone already knew one another so I felt a little out of place.”
Lowery plans on transferring to the University of California San Diego to study international business. Looking forward, the Japanese club will resume regular biweekly meetings. Inoue says the club will be open to anyone who’s interested in learning more about Japanese culture, not just students.
“Both advisors and students should be motivated and communicate well,” said Inoue.
Lopez says she’s been meeting with the club coordinator and plans on restarting the Latinx club once students are back on campus. “Now that I’m in that position [peer mentor] I want to help students feel welcomed,” said Lopez.