Clubs struggle to recover from the pandemic

Understaffing is still a nationwide issue and GHC is no different.


Brandon Dyer

The wall outside of the MIC room shows that there are still multiple clubs looking for members as of Jan. 25 2022.

Austin Williams, Sports Editor

Nothing has been the same for Georgia Highlands College after the negative effects of Covid-19. Since March of 2019, enrollment of the college has declined, causing a strain in a key factor in a college experience: clubs. 

Georgia Highlands offers 40 official organizations through their institution but have recently struggled with club participation.

The main issue with club participation is enrollment complications due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Clifton Puckett, the Georgia Highlands Cocurricular and Transition Programs Coordinator, stated club enrollment is down due to enrollment being down as a whole for the college. 

He predicts the enrollment of clubs throughout Georgia Highlands to grow once more students return on campus. Puckett continued with ways clubs could appeal to more students.

Puckett said: “One, we need to bring back the Club Round-Up. There needs to be something in which students can interact with club members and see what their club is about. Second, I think clubs need to adapt their programming more to our new normal, like we’ve done with Student Engagement. We’re blending virtual and in-person events.”

Georgia Highlands enrollment during 2019 was 6,168 students and has currently gone down to 5,245 students. With enrollment declining each year, this makes it harder to keep clubs running at peak efficiency. 

One GHC student decided to step out of her comfort zone: Emma Gaddy. 

She needed help with her math and science classes and that was exactly what she found with the Math and Science Club.

Gaddy said: “I was honestly scared and did not know where to turn to find help with my work. Walking to class one day, I saw the Club Round-Up and noticed the Highlands Math and Science Club. From there on out, I received all the help I needed and more. I got back on track on the honor roll and even helped in expanding my reach to graduate schools. In my opinion, everyone should join a club while they’re at Highlands.”

For some college students, extracurricular activities seem like they would not impact the student positively. The student may have not had time for it or they are not interested in the school’s clubs.

Highlands does offer a list of clubs on the college website, but not having an in-person setting for clubs can make it difficult for students to find them. The website only offers a description of the club but there is no way to contact clubs directly, so contacting Student Engagement services is seemingly the only way.

GHC student Josh Madden had this exact struggle of finding a club event on campus. 

Madden was able to find the Gaming Club event taking place on the Cartersville campus, but he could not differentiate the club members from the regular students.

“The [Gaming Club] president said that they’ve had a hard time getting new members ever since COVID-19 started,” he said. “The event I attended seemed like the only people that were there were close friends and I was the only non-member there.”

Clubs open the boundaries for any student, especially when it comes to networking, which is important for anyone trying to search for employment. 

Cartersville student Joseph Gainer stated that networking was a key factor when getting involved with the Business Leaders of Tomorrow Club.

“I got into business throughout high school, especially with stocks, but I did not have any connections or any idea where to start,” Gainer said. “I found this club through the Outlook email and worked my way up with networking. I’ve gained connections that I would not have made without that club.”

There is still hope for these clubs as more in-person club events take place to attract more members. Increased student enrollment will lead to higher club enrollment and time itself will bring back the normalcy these clubs have been missing.