Club Week: a long-standing Harding tradition. In many ways, the busy week has remained consistent year after year. Exhausted students waiting outside the caf before daylight? Check. Social clubs joining in each other’s cheers during All Club? Check. Lackluster singing in chapel due to lost voices and sleepy students? Check.
In many ways, this year’s Club Week has stayed true to the past. On the surface, it looked no different — but there has been a definite shift in tone. This year, it seems that clubs are being identified in a new way. The conversation has moved from classifying clubs as easy vs. hard — this year, it’s nice vs. mean.
Previously, individual clubs were known to either implement a hard Club Week or an easy one. There was a sense of pride surrounding hard clubs. Once the new members made it through the trying week, it was something to boast about; old members didn’t hesitate to use the same techniques from years past. They had survived it, after all, and the new members needed to understand the struggle.
On the other hand, there used to be a slight sheepishness felt by easy clubs in regard to their Club Week processes. Of course, those who joined these were grateful they weren’t crying approximately nine times a day, but there was almost a sense of embarrassment about making it through the week minimally scathed. It was easy to feel judged by those who had endured hard weeks.
The adjectives are different this year. I’m not sure what prompted the change — junior Jason Lightfoot’s devotional thought in chapel on Monday, perhaps. Or maybe it’s been a long time coming. Whatever the catalyst, there has been much more discussion this year as to why hard clubs are mean (or stern) to their new members.
Suddenly, members of what have been known as hard clubs aren’t just going through the week proud of their demanding traditions — they’re defensive of the benefits of harshness. And members of traditionally easy clubs aren’t just quietly content with their ideology — they’re proud of the kindness they show.
Like I said, this year is different.
Is it dramatic to call Club Week 2018 a total shift in paradigm and the beginning of a revolution in the way the Harding community treats social clubs? Yeah, probably. But then again, all change has to start somewhere, right?
I don’t think Club Week should be done away with; I don’t think it should just look like a normal week with a few cheers added in. There’s some validity to enduring a little sleep deprivation and having team-building activities from 5 to 11 p.m. every night for a week. But I don’t think enduring rudeness from old members is a beneficial team-building activity.
In my opinion, Club Week should be a challenge. However, I think it is possible to find a balance between a challenging week and a kind week.
Maybe this year is the beginning of finding that balance.