Stuyvesant Experiences Afterschool Club Room Shortages

The lack of rooms available has caused a lull in the activity of many clubs at Stuyvesant, restraining the school’s social communities due to this logistical complication.

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The Student Union (SU) Clubs and Pubs Department announced in late October that classrooms on the second floor could no longer be used for club meetings due to the expansion of their designation for extended time testing. Prior to this announcement, classrooms on the second, third, and fourth floors were available for students to book meetings via StuyActivities. Due to the repurposing of the second floor, however, there are now only two floors for club leaders to choose from when booking rooms online, which has interfered with scheduling processes and the efficiency of clubs as a whole.

Attributable to the lack of rooms available for clubs in the first place, most rooms on StuyActivities are completely booked months in advance. This has caused difficulties for club leaders trying to hold meetings. “We’ve been struggling to book a room for months now. At first, we booked a room, and then that day, they canceled all extracurricular activities, and then the second time, they canceled all extracurricular activities on the second floor,” junior and Craft For a Cure co-president Oleksandr Kurtianyk said. “Finally, the third time, we had to book three weeks in advance because we couldn’t get any rooms.”

Being unable to book rooms through StuyActivites, club leaders have held meetings by finding teachers to permit them to use their rooms or claiming empty classrooms they find unlocked. “If we want a room, we instead have to rely on using fifth-floor rooms that we aren’t really supposed to use in the first place,” junior and Social Deduction Club President Jakob Weir said.

Holding undocumented club meetings can cause safety issues, making it an inadequate solution to the lack of rooms. “Let’s say you’re a club leader and you notice that there are no rooms, so you start asking a different teacher about whether you can use their room. [History teacher and Student Union faculty advisor Matthew] Polazzo has no database to see that, so if something bad happens in that class, then he wouldn’t know and he would have no record of the meeting,” junior and Clubs and Pubs Deputy Director Adeline Sauberli said.

Students have also often been forced to use rooms that do not align with the purpose of their club, interfering with the functionality of their meetings. “I’ve been forced to rely on a teacher [providing] me a lab room for a non-lab meeting, which is about the worst situation I can find myself in for room selection,” junior and Environmental Club President Mark Ionis said.

On top of that, the overbooking of rooms has prevented club leaders from accessing rooms that would normally have been designated to their specific club, creating uncertainty among members. “There’s been confusion with club members about where to go, or going to a room for a club meeting and seeing that it’s already booked and people that they didn’t expect to be there are already in the room,” Ionis said. “It leads to seeming unprofessional when it’s really something that’s out of our control as a club.”

While booking rooms has always been difficult, club leaders have noticed that this room deficit is a problem that has particularly arisen this school year. “Last year, I used to be able to book a meeting less than a week ahead of time, and there would be plenty of room availability, and in fact, sometimes there would even be rooms available the day before,” Weir said. “But this year, with how many clubs there are and how few rooms there are, it’s necessary that dire actions are taken to increase capacity.”

To solve these issues, the SU is attempting multiple courses of action. The first fix is to minimize the number of clubs that need to book rooms, as there are many clubs at Stuyvesant with similar goals and interests that could combine to lessen the demand for rooms. “Right now what I’m trying to do is look for possible mergers for clubs so there are [fewer] clubs that need to meet in general,” Sauberli said.

Another possible solution is opening up other floors to club meetings, but certain restrictions bar students from being able to use higher floors. “I think the issue with [the fifth floor] is with all of the athletics that happen there. [Stuyvesant Speech and Debate teams] control a lot of the sixth [floor]. A lot of the rooms [on the seventh floor] are lab rooms, which aren’t necessarily good for clubs,” Polazzo said.

There are other floors of the building that remain unoccupied after school, which the SU hopes can be designated for club meetings. “Right now it's just accepted that the eighth, ninth, and 10th floors are just too high up for clubs to meet,” Sauberli said. “I’m trying to see what would happen if we just tried having a few club meetings on the eighth floor.”

In addition, the SU suggests that the administration designate other classrooms for extended time in order to clear up some of the organizational issues that clubs have faced thus far. “Personally, my preference would be for all the extended time classrooms to be on the higher floors because they’re more portable than club activities, which should be concentrated on the lower floors,” Polazzo said.

Overall, the lack of rooms available has caused a lull in the activity of many clubs at Stuyvesant, restraining the school’s social communities due to this logistical complication. While the SU works to create a more effective system, the hope is that clubs can find other ways to meet safely and that the SU can prevent other such shortcomings in the future. “It’s really important that the administration commits to finding space necessary,” Polazzo said. “I will say that the administration has said they’re going to do that, and I believe that they are going to hold their promise. I look forward to seeing solutions they come up with.”