The bubble-gum pop music sounds of Britney Spears flowed through the air along the campus mall, transporting students to the Y2K era. It was Club Rush and the energy was contagious.
Associated Student Organization (ASO) Club Rush returned to campus on Wednesday and Thursday with approximately 50 clubs in attendance. The event marked the second time that it has been held in person since the pandemic closure.
“I think everyone’s excited to be back,” Club Council President Javid Ekhteraiy said. “The vibe is very positive. Everyone seems happy.”
Participating in the two-day event gave students an opportunity to join a club or start one of their own.
With many clubs to choose from, Ekhteraiy said students are bound to find something they will resonate with.
While some students join a club for a chance to develop and strengthen skills, fulfill a passion or engage with communities they strongly believe in, for Veterinary Club President Jordan Stivers it is also about forming lasting friendships.
“I’ve made a lot of friends through the club,” Stivers said. “People who have moved beyond Pierce and gone off to vet schools or transferred and I still keep in contact with them. It provides a lot of support for me and it is something to look forward to after a week full of classes.”
According to Ekhteraiy, the number of clubs during the height of the pandemic was about twenty. Now that in-person events can take place on campus, the number of clubs has more than doubled.
According to Dean of Student Engagement Juan Carlos Astorga, clubs are able to recruit new members, introduce themselves to students and share their vision.
“You really see the vibrancy of the student energy outside,” Astorga said. “Students just have this vision of what they want to see and what kind of an imprint they want to leave on this campus. It’s really nice to see how involved they want to be.”
In an effort to keep campus safety a top priority during the early days of the pandemic, certain sacrifices were made. According to the LACCD enrollment trends report, as classes shifted online, enrollment went down significantly, taking with it the sense of belonging that events like Club Rush offers students.
Astorga said that Pierce is slowly creeping back to pre-pandemic enrollment numbers and as a result, there are more clubs for students to get involved in.
“Along with that, we’ve also seen a greater presence on campus of students,” Astorga said. “Students that are on campus really want to see an opportunity for them to not only connect and develop social support networks, but also to get involved and engaged.”
Students who were unable to attend Club Rush can still get involved by forming a club or joining an existing one. The deadline to start a club is Friday, Feb. 24 but there is no deadline to join a club. All that is required is a full executive board of six members and an adviser. Advisers can be any full time staff member.