The start of a new semester is always a hectic time for Monash Malaysia’s dozens of clubs and societies, as they engage in a mad scramble to snare returning students and freshies. C&S Week is a staple of the semester calendar, with most clubs holding off on their regular activities until the week after the event.
As usual, this semester saw wide participation in the promotional week – at least 30 clubs set up the usual booths lining the library perimeter and filling the foyer. However, the Clubs and Societies division shifted things around a bit for Semester Two by making some changes to the schedule.
The major change was in moving C&S Week from Week 2 to Week 1. Along with pushing the Week forward, it was also shortened from its usual five days to a Tuesday-to-Thursday affair.
There were mixed feelings from many of the volunteers about the changes. Some appreciated the move to Week 1, such as Natasha from the Monash Model UN Society, who felt it was easier to cope with the hustle and bustle before tutorials got going. Others, like James from the Climbing Club, found themselves in a rush to prepare their booths in time. Many students had just Monday to get things ready. Indeed, many participants were seen scrambling even on Tuesday morning to get their booths decorated in time.
Others were not too happy about the shortened schedule. In fact, most students queried did not know that C&S Week was ending a day earlier than usual. Some felt the clubs had lost a good number of potential recruits, as many wait until the last day to sign up.
The changes, however, were not arbitrary – per the C&S Division, the move to Week 1 was mainly due to the schedule of renovations around campus, which made Week 2 an unfeasible choice. The booths were also closed early due to staff events, which did not come to their attention until later. Nevertheless, the C&S Heads, Kai Bin and Wei Yang, praised the clubs and societies for their collaboration, even on short notice.
Anyhow, most promoters reported a good response from the students. On Wednesday, the Climbing Club had clinched 126 new members, well on its way to its target of 200. Some more specialised clubs, such as the Chamber Orchestra, had a taller hill to climb, but overall, most clubs met with success. Services from the C&S Division were also much appreciated – a representative at the Toastmasters booth noted that they even provided poster-printing facilities.
Besides the promotional booths, there was a steady stream of performances and presentations on the sidelines of C&S Week. This featured two of the Monash dance clubs, MDFC and Monash Street Dance, in repeat performances, all well-attended. The cheerleaders, Music Club, Aikido, and even the Debate Society all had their slots during the three days. This kept the momentum going and helped draw more students to the booths.
Conventional wisdom would hold that the clubs on the outer row of booths, further from the library and footpaths, would have a tougher go of it. Simren from the Monash University Investment Group dismissed this, though, and said that the response was even better than expected, despite their location, especially between 2-3pm. In fact, the pattern of C&S Week was a slow start in the mornings, slowly picking up through the day, with most students stopping at the booths after 3 as they headed back from class.
All in all, it was a fruitful week for participating clubs, and a good start to the new semester. If nothing else, the exuberance and enthusiasm of the volunteers from all the societies bodes well for Monash’ student life.
Words by Visvamba Nathan
Photos by Celine Chua, Christopher Oh, Desmond Chin, Tan Yi Jie, Terence Kong & Tristan Chan