At Brown, certain clubs and activities, such as Ivy Film Festival, the Triple Helix and Brown Motion Pictures, have applications in order for students to become a part of the creative process that goes into being a part of a publication or film crew. This ensures that the students who are a part of these groups have the skills necessary to produce the quality of work required by these clubs. Unfortunately, this arrangement tends to leave out students who wish to be part of these groups specifically because they would like to learn more about these activities and develop skills in these areas but do not yet have much experience.
When student groups place strict requirements on membership, they leave out students who could have strong potential but simply lack experience, often because they did not have relevant opportunities in high school. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that upperclassmen have a clear advantage over freshmen and perhaps even sophomores. They have taken classes and had access to life experiences that younger students are unlikely to have had. This hinders students who come into Brown looking for experiences that differ from the opportunities they had in high school.
Brown presents itself as an academic mecca filled with countless opportunities for students to explore their diverse interests inside and outside the classroom. Students here may choose to take science classes in addition to pursuing their interest in theater or take classes in literature even if their primary interest lies in science. Extracurricular activities are a great way to explore varying interests, and adding obstacles to joining clubs is counterproductive.
In order to satisfy both clubs’ needs for talent and students’ desires to explore, extracurricular organizations can compromise. Every club can make sure that there are positions available to the general student body. In other words, these positions can act as an entry point into an activity so that students who, for instance, are interested in film but have no experience can still join a production team. Students with more experience can fill out applications to enter these clubs at higher positions. Not only will this give underclassmen and inexperienced students more opportunities, but it will also allow them to learn these desired skills from their peers.
Students should not have to fight their way into clubs. While those with more experience should be able to hold higher positions, those who wish to learn more should not be barred. Moving forward, we hope clubs that tightly restrict membership will open their doors more widely and devote effort to training those with passion, interest and potential but no experience.
Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board: Emma Axelrod ’18, Eben Blake ’17 and Aranshi Kumar ’17. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.