Staff Standoff: Should We Serve Food at Club Fair?

[column size=one_half position=first ]

YES: Ponette Kim


Entering Metzger Plaza on the day of Club Fair, any given student can be overwhelmed by the sheer number of clubs. Posters wave in the wind and the rows of tables seem to stretch on forever.

She might wonder how she’s ever going to explore all of these clubs, and then she sees it: a heaping plate of homemade brownies.

Drawn to the dessert, she takes one and is instantly bombarded by an excited club member, armed with facts and all the answers to questions she didn’t know she had.

After scrawling her name on the sign-up sheet, the student walks away, armed with a dessert and a newfound sense of awe, ready to explore the next 83 tables. Without the brownie, she might have never known about the club.

Forming a club is not an easy task. First, the student interested in creating it, usually the club president, has to write a “purposeful and descriptive” mission statement with a list of possible activities for the club to do.

Then, the club president recruits a sponsoring faculty for the club. If the club is accepted by the assistant head of Upper School, the club president gets to showcase her club during Club Fair with the purpose of informing and recruiting club members. And this is when the competition really begins.

Many girls work hard to outfit their tables with the necessary props needed to draw attention, but they shouldn’t have to worry. A short 30 minutes of baking can provide them with enough bait to ensure that they achieve a desirable number of club members while also spreading their message.

Baked goods are a security blanket for clubs: they never fail to draw in possible club members, and they are relatively cheap. Without a reliable source of attraction, some clubs may go unnoticed, and all the work the club officers poured into flyers and posters is wasted.

Food is the “voice” of small clubs with big dreams, and perhaps the only way they can spread their message is through a heaping pile of cookies.
So next time you go to Club Fair, make sure to allow yourself time to hear each club’s message — while also taking a treat. Maybe you will even surprise yourself and some clubs that interested you, along with some you had never even heard of.


[column size=one_half position=last ]

NO: Eshani Kishore


An endless stretch of warm, gooey brownies and freshly-iced cupcakes lie, glistening, on the tables of Club Fair, enticing girls to various organizations’ tables. While advertising a club with food is a tradition, this practice should be discontinued. Desserts distract from the real attraction at Club Fair: the clubs themselves.

Furthermore, recent research performed by The New York Times reveals that mindlessly consuming large amounts of sugar at the end of the day, right before sports, can have a detrimental impact on athletic performance. Even for non-athletes like many of us, the extra sugar slows down metabolism and gets converted to fat.

Downing a dessert at club fair doesn’t just impact athletic performance — it actually undermines the purpose of club fair itself by increasing the chance that clubs will accrue a list of ghost members: girls who never attend the meetings. And freshmen aren’t the only ones who are guilty of scribbling their names on sign-up sheets a little too hastily. Food motivates girls from all four grades to sign up. Eliminating desserts, however, ensures that each and every club member signs up for a club because it truly interests her.

The vast number of choices among the treats at club fair promotes the wrong kind of competition between clubs. Rather than thinking about the club’s time commitment or what differentiates it from other clubs, girls consider the benefits of a cookie over a brownie or compare candy to cupcakes.

Rather than encouraging the reward mentality — the exchange of a club sign-up for a dessert — we should actively discourage it. Instead of offering a treat to a prospective club member, club officers should focus on promoting the most engaging aspects of the club’s meetings.

In fact, eliminating food at club fair allows club presidents to direct their energy toward planning creative and interesting activities for meetings, rather than purchasing treats. Just imagine: with the extra effort that club officers put into the meetings, officers could attract even more members and enhance the club experience for all of its members.

So, as you walk through the tables at club fair, instead of scrawling your name on a club list, grabbing the brownie and leaving, ask yourself whether you’re signing up for the club — or for the food. If your answer is the latter, it goes to show that food has no place at club fair.