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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

With seniors leaving, some clubs find themselves endangered

Published: April 18, 2008
Section: Features

Ben Douglas ’08 knows all about what it feels like to watch a club wither away and disappear. He’s seen it too many times, as a member of Digital Arts Club, Pirate Club, and, hopefully not joining the list soon, Gravity Magazine, a humor publication.

Gravity Magazine still exists, but it and other clubs in similar predicaments may soon find themselves facing the same fate if they don’t boost their membership soon. With seniors on their way out, many clubs have a dearth of members to support them next school year.

Of Gravity Magazine’s eight or so student members, five are seniors, and of the remaining three, only two attend meetings on a regular basis. “We always run the risk of dying out,” stated Douglas. “When I joined there were twenty or so members, ten to fifteen or so attended regularly, and the number just dwindled down over the years.”

Douglas noted that membership significantly decreased in 2006 because many members had been seniors the year before, similar to its current plight.

Chalav U D’vash, Brandeis’ Journal on Zionist Thought, has eleven members, four of whom are seniors and one to two of whom will be abroad next year, leaving a grand total of five to six.

As Dan Tempkin ’08, who co-founded and put togtether the journal’s first issue with a shortage of members, “it’s not easy.”

Women’s Rugby Club was so desperate for members earlier this year that it sent a campus-wide e-mail asking students to participate so that the club would have enough members to even play a game.

What is a club to do? “A lot of times I feel that if there were an easy way to market the club to people who would care about it, then a lot of clubs wouldn’t die out the way they have,” said Douglas.

“Most of the solution relies on talking to people one-on-one, just like finding new friends. You have conversations with people, you meet at parties…you sign them up.”

According to Tempkin, getting and keeping members requires “cooperation, welcoming in new members, having a clear platform with what the club wants to accomplish, and something that appeals to a certain contingency on campus.”

Some clubs, both noted, don’t have a clear focus or theme, leading to confusion over what the club is really all about.

Nevertheless, many clubs will have to go over and beyond just to “break even” and maintain their “status quo.”

Looking to help? Want to get more involved on campus? Go to and find a club that’s right for you.