The Parents' Table
There are more than 100 student clubs and organizations at the Academy which actively provide students a forum for making friends and developing leadership and life skills. But providing information and assistance to students interested in organizing clubs and planning events is just the tip of the iceberg. In the last few years, under Joanne Lembo, acting director, and her predecessor Barbara James, the department has worked to give students increasing opportunities for leadership. The department is more student-driven than in the past, with many ideas coming from students themselves. Many of their suggestions are for fun events—and having fun is an important emphasis here—but a surprising number coordinate with other programs or are dorm events, open to the entire campus.
Parents who want to know more about our activities have asked some of these questions:
How does the student activities department develop leadership skills?
“Student activities provides plenty of guidance and advice, but students work through the process of planning events on their own. A dorm planning a dance or a club sponsoring a speaker, for instance, first checks the calendar and reserves the date, then proceeds to do much of the work needed to make the event a success. Students find volunteer workers, secure equipment, make travel arrangements and promote the event. Planning can be complicated, involving coordination between group or dorm members and working through what can sometimes seem like an infinite number of practical details. The experience is invaluable for learning leadership and gaining organizational skills.”
What activities are available on weekends?
“According to Acting Director Joanne Lembo, the weekend activities committee (W.A.C.) and student activities work with clubs and dorms to ensure that there is a wide variety of events every weekend of the year. These include coffee houses, movies and plays, pep rallies, hiking or rock-climbing trips, dances and concerts. The office sponsors annual international and environmental days, hires entertainers, including comedians, hypnotists and magicians, and sponsors games and casino nights, debates, scavenger hunts, cookouts and more.”
What is the role of faculty advisers in guiding student clubs and organizations?
“Among other things, faculty advisers serve as a sounding board for students, helping to gauge whether or not an event will “fly,” teaching skills such as debating or chess, helping locate speakers and performers, mapping out the hike, driving the bus to get the groceries for the dinners, chaperoning a dance, and giving their time in dozens of other ways.”