Clubs become the last remaining vestige of student involvement on Guilford’s campus

Currently the clubs at Guilford are one of the only ways students remain active outside their studies. Guilford College offers a variety of clubs such as the Black Student Union, Democracy Matters, Biohazard Ultimate Frisbee, Food Justice Club and The Guilfordian, which are only a few out of the 56 clubs on campus.

The goal for clubs and organizations, according to the Guilford website, is for students to “connect with other students like themselves. Whether your interests are cultural, athletic, creative or just fun.”

Clubs and organizations are good spaces for students to gather with people who have the same interests as them, and to create a community in which they feel comfortable. A benefit of joining clubs and organizations is that the events are never mandatory, but are highly encouraged. It’s up to the individual to take that dive into the community.

And what’s great about the clubs is that “if there isn’t a club or organization that piques your interest, you can easily find a friend interested in starting one with you” ( The flexibility of clubs gives students a chance to be able to fit a club or organization into their schedule.

My experience with clubs has been both positive and negative, but I have been glad to have the opportunity to participate.

In my first year here, I attended many events that the International Club hosted. I remember having an international dinner at Pope, which was one of the theme houses on campus that closed this fall. It was a good space for international students to share their culture with the rest of the Guilford community. This space also indicated to international students that Guilford supports and accepts them by giving the opportunity to make marginalized minorities visible in the community.

Student involvement at Guilford seems to be decreasing. Many clubs are still active, but it is hard to say if that will continue to be true. There are many factors that play into student participation. In the past few years, there have been many changes and renovations to Guilford’s campus, including closing the Hut and the Greenleaf coffee co-op.

Since Guilford doesn’t have a student union center, there is no place that students can gather to hangout besides the first-year dorms, and there are now no places—outside the dorms on campus—that are open 24 hours a day for students. There are only a few limited community spaces available to students on campus.

Another change in the past year is the closing of theme houses in fall 2019. I think the closing of the theme houses sparked a further decrease in student involvement on campus because it was a place that for many felt like it was our safe space as students.

The theme houses represented safe spaces for students to create their own community living. Many of the theme houses had communal dinners and communal activities that added to the development of community campus wide.

When a community has few places to engage with one another in a social setting, the community is diminished and loses the opportunity to connect, address issues and grow together. I think the lack of community space has made members of the Guilford community become disconnected, and has influenced the decline in student involvement. Students have even become discouraged about finding other spaces for community, and are running out of energy arguing with the administration.

It seems unlikely to me that clubs and CAB alone will be able to create an underlying support structure for all students to connect and engage with one another, and without that larger community, it will fracture into small segments and much will be lost of the Guilford College community spirit.