Annual Interact barbecue held Sept. 21

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Annual Interact barbecue held Sept. 21

Jennifer Lee

Interact member senior Vanessa Huang hands out a burger to junior Allen Chi at the Interact barbecue. Originally, Interact had planned to coordinate its barbecue in tandem with MVHS’ first home football game, which took place Sept. 7, but later rescheduled the barbecue to Sept. 21. Photo by Athira Penghat.

As the smell of fresh hamburgers wafted through the air, a long, winding line of students could be seen outside the cafeteria. Over in the rally court, other students socialized and laughed with their friends. It was the picture of a typical Barbecue Wednesday — except it wasn’t Wednesday.

It was, however, a barbecue. To be more specific, it was the fifth annual Interact barbecue, held by MVHS service club Interact on Sept. 21 in the rally court from 3 to 5 p.m.

Food and drinks, including meat and vegetarian burgers, chips, cookies and water, were served for free. The barbecue also gave students the chance to play with water balloons and participate in various icebreaker games such as Shipwreck, a fast-paced group activity similar to Simon Says.

According to Interact Co-President senior Srisruthi Ramesh, Interact sought to attract new members and promote general awareness of the club with the barbecue. Its primary purpose in hosting this event, however, was to foster more bonding within the club’s already established membership base.

“We wanted everyone to know each other, because a lot of our club is about knowing a lot more members and becoming closer as a club,” Ramesh said.

The barbecue usually takes place the Friday before Club Day in order to encourage membership sign-ups early on in the year. This year, however, that day happened to be the day of MVHS’ first home football game. Initially, Interact and ASB commission Bull Spirit wanted to team up and promo the two events together.

According to Bull Spirit commission head senior Lyan Cogan, however, the joint scheduling was later canceled because administration felt the school custodians were already working overtime that day in preparation for the football game. Regardless, Interact eventually managed to find both a new date and a different marketing approach for the barbecue.

“We decided to have our event on a different Friday so Interact is the main focus and the main event on that day,” said Interact Co-President senior Nikita Bhatnagar. “That way the promotion for our club would come through a lot more.”

Adjusting for the football game, the Interact officers finally decided on a date — the Friday after Club Day. According to both Ramesh and Bhatnagar, having the barbecue then helped give Interact time to promote the club more thoroughly.

“Last [year, there was] no way for us to really recognize the members who are really interested in joining the club versus those who aren’t,” Bhatnagar said. “[Now] people [know] it wasn’t just, ‘Oh, a random club is giving us free food’ — it was Interact Club … We think that it should hopefully positively influence our club membership. We definitely had an opportunity to branch out our following.”

New members like junior Melissa Wang felt the close-knit atmosphere that Bhatnagar and Ramesh hoped to provide.

“All the Interact members ate together and hung out with some of the officers,” Wang said. “There were [also] some other people from Cupertino High that came, so it was pretty fun.”

Although combining the Interact barbecue with the football game didn’t work out this time, in the future Interact hopes to try again.

“It’s a possibility,” Bhatnagar said. “We will be trying to work with other clubs on campus to put on events because then you’ve got [a] really good way to promo for both of our clubs, so it could happen.”

Correction on 9/23 at 10:30 p.m.: This year Interact had its fifth annual barbecue.