Column: Club fee deters students from pursuing interests

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”file photo” align=”alignleft” width=”300″] Seniors Jonathan Kim and Jordan Ecker try to recruit new members to the debate team at last year’s Club Day, Monday, Sept. 26, 2011.
by Connor Vasu

Thursday, Sept. 27, excited freshman will flock to the cafeteria for Club Day, excited by the prospect of attending the numerous interesting clubs at this school.

Despite their interest in a club, freshmen may be hesitant to join because of the $125 participation fee for all members.

Last year, the City started charging a non-athletic school-sponsored extra-curricular activity fee in order to close the budget gap.

According to to a 2011 Newtonite survey, 74 percent of students at this school said they would not continue to attend a club if an activity fee was added. Therefore, it is obvious that the fee is a deterrent. It stops students from taking an active part in the school community through clubs.

In fact, because of this fee, the Italian club folded, as the club could not justify asking its members to pay $125 to attend weekly meetings.

The variety and number of clubs is one of the great aspects of this school. Clubs enhance students’ learning, allowing them to explore areas they find interesting. Newton should encourage students to pursue areas of interest, not deter them with a fee.

Furthermore, this fee has proved ineffective. According to the Boston Globe, 13 percent of students paid the fee last year. As a result the fee, which was projected to raise $400,000, according to a 2011 Newtonite article, only collected $61,250. Thus, the fee did not bring in enough revenue to close the budget gap.
Because the City failed to accomplish its goal, it should find creative ways to save money, such as charging a small amount more for lunch or putting all new textbooks on Kindles.
The fee hinders students from attending clubs. Clubs are the backbone of this school, and they should stay that way.