Why Aren’t Students Involved in “Compassion Clubs” Anymore?
BHS has had many clubs over the years, some of these clubs are "Compassion Clubs" that focus on building community. These clubs are dropping in numbers and interest.
In every corner of Buffalo High School, one can find posters with varying versions of “be nice, be proud, work hard, and model good behavior.” The school strives to provide plenty of opportunities for students to do so. 74.6% out of 59 students who participated in a survey say they feel there are enough opportunities to support others and help the school. But, out of the students asked, only 5.9% are utilizing these opportunities with clubs/groups. This may be because of the options available, there used to be several different “compassion clubs” that students could participate in.
One of the largest student groups BHS has had was Students Stepping Up. At its height (2000-2015) it had 300-400 members each year. Members pledged to remain chemical-free and strive to be good leaders. At the end of the week, members tutored students at the elementary and middle schools. SSU ended in 2019 when the high school’s start time changed, members no longer had time to leave the school. 59.3% of survey respondents would join SSU if it were still available, 37.3% liked the idea but wouldn’t join, 1.7% were indifferent, and 1.7% didn’t like the idea.
From 2004-2019, there was another group called the SCC or Student Care Committee. Their motto was “Bringing happiness through random acts of kindness.” It was made up of 5-20 students, depending on the time of year, who would perform random acts of kindness. The SCC, like SSU, was dissolved due to the schedule change in 2019. “I think it had something to do with losing AAA time and not having space in the new school schedule to have student groups meet during the school day,” says Mrs. Kern, an advisor of SCC for over 5 years. 45.8% of respondents said they would be interested in joining SCC if it was still available, 45.8% liked the idea but wouldn’t be interested in joining, and 8.5% were indifferent.
Another option for students who wanted to make a difference was the GMSA or Globally Minded Student Activists. 25-40 members (depending on the year) met after school and proposed, planned, and organized fundraisers and causes to support communities worldwide. 40.7% of respondents would be interested in joining, 50.8% liked the idea, 5.1% were indifferent, and 3.4% didn’t like the idea.
Clubs/groups available now aren’t receiving the interest or numbers past clubs have. A significant number of survey respondents said they would join these clubs if they were still available. With these responses, it’s intriguing that so few of those students are members of similar groups that are available now.
One of these groups is the Unity Project. “The idea of the Unity Project is to create a welcoming environment in our community and a place to use our power as students to create change in the world,” says member Ella Kragerud ‘25. 22% of respondents don’t know what the group is, 71.2% have heard of it, and 6.8% are in it.
Another available club is the GSA or, Gender & Sexuality Alliance. “Genders & Sexualities Alliances, or GSAs for short, are student-run organizations that unite LGBTQ+ and allied youth to build community and organize around issues impacting them in their schools and communities,” says gsanetwork.org. 49.2% of respondents don’t know of the club, 45.8% know of it, and 5.1% are members.
Several students use other activities, like sports, to meet BHS’s kindness expectations. “I always congratulate my competitors and try to be a cheerleader for the team by supporting everyone,” says varsity swimmer Mackenzie Christensen ‘23. Some students model good behavior and are compassionate on their own. “I try to treat people with kindness and the way I want to be treated. I always try to assume the best of people,” says Hayley Crossland ‘23. It’s clear that students have the opportunity and desire to be compassionate people, but it seems there may be disinterest or a lack of knowledge on “compassion clubs.”