Every year, clubs host a series of activities to teach and promote unity, diversity, and other prominent topics. Seasons of Service, Period of Peace (SOSPOP) lasts from after Martin Lurther King Jr. Day to Cesar Chavez Day, and a different group trying to educate the rest of the student body about their topic hosts each week.
However, due to the pandemic, SOSPOP will all be virtual this year, leaving clubs to navigate their activities in an online setting.
“We are trying to make activities as interactive and accessible as possible,” said Alexis Alburo, president of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
There are 18 clubs that are working hard to bring a version of SOSPOP to students this year. Some of the themes this year include Shark Tank, creativity and self-expression, language and culture, children’s rights, and human trafficking. This year, starting Jan. 25 with Club Day, SOSPOP continues for its ten week period until March 29, hosted by Interact and Red Cross club.
Some clubs correspond their theme with the week they are hosting SOSPOP. SWE, Girls Learn International, Medical Students’ Association, and the Robotics Club’s theme is women in STEM, and their week coincides with International Women’s Day. The Chinese Culture Club presented about the Lunar New Year, and the Black Student Union has taken the last week of February, which is Black History Month.
The clubs’ use Closed Trojan Times on Wednesdays as well as social media to help promote and educate students about their theme. Small activities and videos related to their theme are included in the Trojan Time slides for teachers to present to their students.
“For spreading awareness, we are advertising via Trojan Time as well as Instagram,” Aaron Ruiz, Speech Club president explained. “This year, [we were able] to reach a lot of students through social media and get the word out.”
Some clubs even offer extra activities throughout the week where students can drop in and participate.
“We want our activities to bring awareness to the gender gap in STEM and also teach STEM skills. So far, we have a few guest speakers and are planning to do a weeklong Computer Aided Drawing challenge using a website that our club designed,” Alburo described.
“We hosted two Shark Tank events where participants were the sharks,” said president of the Financial Literacy Club and DECA, Oliver Zhang. “We wanted to get people involved in a fun activity while helping people become more confident public speakers and learning about business.”
However, the all virtual SOSPOP brings its challenges as it is much harder for them to gain the same student interest and participation that clubs are usually able to conjure in-person.
“We were restricted to using Zoom for our meetings, and many of our participants were shy to click the unmute button,” Ruiz commented.
Zhang agreed stating, “[there is] definitely the lack of face-to-face interaction and not being able to connect with people after the activity.”
Despite the many obstacles and hoops that clubs must jump through to provide a SOSPOP to students this year, clubs have still been able to educate and bring awareness to their topics in a new yet still fun manner.
“[We were able] to host a fun event to spread awareness for environmental activism and innovation, while also teaching high school students about finance, investments, and public speaking,” stated Ruiz.