Ask almost any student how they made most of their friends at Georgetown University, and they’ll likely tell you just one thing: clubs.
Extracurricular organizations, including on-campus jobs, athletic teams, affinity groups, preprofessional clubs and clubs centered around common interests, are mini-communities that can be the best way to find a home on the Hilltop.
Obviously, the club process this semester is going to look a lot different. Under normal circumstances, the Council of Advisory Boards, an umbrella group that houses almost all student organizations, runs CAB Fair. The event is a daylong extravaganza in which nearly 300 student organizations sprawl across Healy and Copley Lawns in a confusing and stressful yet exhilarating maze laid out for first-year students — or anyone looking to find a new community while they’re here — to peruse. My freshman year, I was fortunate to find my home in the Georgetown Running Club, The Hoya, the Georgetown Admissions Ambassadors Program (the group that runs admitted students’ weekend), Chi Alpha (a Protestant Christian ministry) and Delta Phi Epsilon (a professional foreign service sorority). These groups brought me my best friends and my roommates. They have allowed me to step into leadership roles and grow as a person during my time at Georgetown.
Just because new students will not get an in-person CAB Fair just yet does not mean you can’t find ways to explore your passions and experiment with new interests with Georgetown’s vibrant array of clubs. This year, Virtual CAB Fair will take place Aug. 29 and Aug. 30 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. as well as Sept. 1 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with over 300 official student groups set to attend at some point over the three days. Some clubs on campus are not officially recognized. For example, H*yas For Choice, a student group dedicated to reproductive justice, and almost all Greek life are not given university funding. Unrecognized groups will have a time slot from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 1. The full schedule for Virtual CAB Fair will be released soon, so keep your eye on the Virtual CAB Fair Facebook event for the latest information.
In case you feel overwhelmed, the Center for Student Engagement is hosting a Clubs @ Georgetown event Aug. 26, at which you can get advice from upperclassmen and learn more about club life. The link is yet to come, but you can learn more here.
Some clubs have an application process, some don’t. Try not to worry too much about either. With hundreds of options, everyone can find something interesting and welcoming if they take time to explore. Clubs can provide more information about their application process at CAB Fair. If you can’t make the time slot and don’t see application information on the club’s social media accounts, I recommend reaching out to club leadership. Email addresses can be found on HoyaLink, a database of all recognized campus organizations. I would also recommend reaching out to clubs through their social media accounts to get a faster response.
Once you sign up for clubs, you might wonder what you can achieve and what community you can really build virtually. It turns out you can accomplish a lot. Some clubs, like The Hoya for example, will operate entirely virtually. We plan to publish weekly newsletters and post daily digital content as we operate entirely digitally. We will also recruit students with open Zoom info sessions, and encourage anyone interested to complete an application when they go out Aug. 27.
For other clubs, going online inherently presents more of a barrier. The Corp, a student-run business that operates coffee shops, a grocery store and the beloved Hoya Snaxa, for instance, will probably not be selling coffee. Club sports teams will not be able to collectively practice or compete from home. But this doesn’t mean these clubs won’t still provide the community everyone misses from home. Clubs are just getting creative.
Even though clubs will not be on campus, many will continue to receive a budget to fund virtual activities and meetings. Clubs can still meet virtually and host adapted social activities, as many did in the spring. In the Georgetown Running Club, we are planning a virtual “run through America,” in which we will add up our collective miles and attempt to run all across the United States. Since running club is an open-entry club, we don’t hold tryouts, and we won’t be charging dues for this semester. Other club sports like water polo intend to have a spring season, but until then will still hold virtual meetings to introduce teammates to each other, according to an email from team captain Gustav Gulmert (SFS ’22).
If you would rather cheer for sports than play, Hoya Blue, Georgetown’s official student section, has you covered. Though we will not have any games to root for this semester, Hoya Blue will continue to meet on Zoom and focus on connecting with club members via social media, according to club president Greg Sullivan (MSB ’21).
The Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union, Georgetown’s student-run credit union, still plans to recruit and train new employees to work remotely.
Any students interested in running for office in the Georgetown University Student Association Senate, the school’s student legislative body, will be able to run a virtual campaign, with voting scheduled for September, according to GUSA Speaker of the Senate Daniella Sanchez (COL ’22). GUSA senators will continue to meet regularly to advocate for students in the virtual environment. Students can also get involved with the GUSA Executive in unelected positions.
The Georgetown Bipartisan Coalition, a space for Democrats, Republicans and independents to better understand current events and engage in political dialogue, intends to hold debates and roundtables over Zoom.
The Georgetown Independent, a monthly arts and culture magazine, plans to publish three times this semester. The board of editors reviews all articles, but submissions are open to anyone. The club still plans to meet informally to help workshop articles, Elizabeth George (SFS ’23) wrote in an email to The Hoya. GU Jawani, Georgetown’s premier South Asian dance troupe, will continue to hold virtual practice sessions twice a week.
Many of Georgetown’s faith-based communities intend to continue meeting as well. Georgetown’s Jewish Life office will continue to hold virtual weekly Shabbat and conversations about social justice.
This list is just a sampling of what Georgetown club life has to offer this semester. We also have a story on affinity group operations here. This article is not comprehensive, but it should show you that upperclassmen want to get to know you. We want to keep our clubs thriving and welcome first-year students just like others welcomed us. We all appreciate the unprecedented obstacles first-year students and transfers are facing, and we want to ease your transition as best we can. Remember to go to Virtual CAB Fair events next week to get the best sense of which clubs will operating in the fall and how!