With over 200 student-led clubs on campus, extracurricular life is a vital aspect of the Lawrenceville experience. Whether it be a publication, community service initiative, or an affinity group, there are a plethora of clubs focusing on dozens of different hobbies, interests, and subjects. Read the rest of this article to see what a number of club leaders have to say about the process of starting, running, and expanding a club.
This year, Michelle Zhang ’25 founded the Chinese Society, an affinity group that aims to spread Chinese culture around campus and create a community for Chinese students. “I started this club because of the unique circumstances that Chinese students have faced under the shadow of Covid-19 regulations in China,” Zhang said. With a large number of Chinese students unable to return home over the holidays, Zhang’s goal was to foster a safe space for those students on campus so that they could “feel closer to home.” Zhang first brought this idea up to a number of friends who were also Chinese. “I then decided to establish relationships with other Chinese students across [[Forms] so that the club could spread further,” she continued. Zhang is most looking forward to the events and holiday celebrations the group is planning on hosting, including the “lantern festival [and] Lunar New Year.” Aside from holidays, she is also excited about bringing other aspects of Chinese culture to the Lawrenceville community, such as hosting calligraphy classes and having “the campus gather together and enjoy some Tangyuan,” a glutinous rice dessert.
Claire Wu ’25 is another founder of a new club this year. Wu’s club, “Stand with New Immigrants,” is focused on reaching out to local immigrants and fundraising for charities that aid them. “My parents and I are all immigrants, so I wanted to find a way to help others who are struggling and want to come and live in the U.S. safely,” she said. “I knew many of my peers also felt passionate about this topic.” Before submitting a club proposal, Wu conducted research into organizations to fundraise for and immigration-related topics that the group would learn about. Explaining one of her goals for this year, she said, “It’s my first time handling a club, so I hope to be able to have at least one successful fundraiser by the end of the year…I’m excited about the process of organizing a fundraiser.”
Both Zhang and Wu believe that staying devoted to a club is the most significant factor in ensuring that it is successful and remains successful in future years. “I think it really is about keeping the club an active and alive presence on campus,” said Zhang.
Wu emphasized the importance of dedication, giving the example of “meetings and time arrangements [that] require consistent commitment.”
Claire Kim ’23 is one of the Executive Directors of L10 News, Lawrenceville’s video journalism club and one of its most prominent publications. She describes the club as being the “perfect platform to showcase student life” at Lawrenceville. “I initially joined L10 because I wanted to explore my passion for filmmaking beyond the bounds of the curriculum,” Kim said. Elaborating on her passion, she explained that editing gives her “a sense of empowerment” and the opportunity to be bold and adventurous with her work. “The life of the art is in my hands,” she said.
“One thing we are trying to work on this year is to find the right balance between entertainment and information,” Kim said. The club will continue releasing biweekly episodes capturing different aspects of Lawrenceville life and notable campus events. Before the release of each episode, L10 organizes board meetings to finalize production and ensure that the videos are ready to be made public. On the importance of dedication and organization in sustaining a club, Kim said, “Commitment from all members of the board is important, or things start to fall apart.”
Having heard from these three students, it is clear that one of the most vital aspects of starting and managing a successful club is devotion. Whether it be consistently attending meetings, taking the initiative to advertise and promote the club on campus, or coming up with inventive new ideas, the level of commitment and dedication a club’s members show towards the club is part of what truly distinguishes a successful club at Lawrenceville.