Secret club uses memes to prompt dialogue, raise concerns

Meena Lee, Sports Editor

The Secret Meme Club uses memes to address topics such as U-High’s start time, the amount of assemblies and the overall mental health of students. (Source: Secret Meme Club)

A group of students has been posting memes on the walls of U-High since early October to raise concerns about issues they find are important to the student body. The group, Secret Meme Club, feels frustrated by lack of action from the faculty and administration on students’ workload and mental health. 

Student Council and the administration have removed the memes because the club is not official, but the students in the Secret Meme Club feel traditional methods of communicating are not effective. The club’s founder, who asked to have their name withheld, has hesitations about advocacy through those traditional methods, sharing that they felt unheard and dismissed by adults.

“It really just feels like you’re talking to a wall,” the founder said about their time on a school committee. “We’re at those meetings where [administration is] supposed to be listening to us and taking our opinions into account. It feels like they’re just listening to parents who think they know what’s good for us, or teachers who claim to have all this experience.”

Because of this, the founder feels that taking an alternative method, memes, to communicate the club’s messages can be really effective.  

“There’s thousands of posters around school all talking about different things, so we needed some way to catch people’s eyes,” the founder said. “There’s also the fact that it’s a really good way to convey feelings rather than just words, so you can get that essence of what the problem is in specific scenarios.” 

According to All-School President Brent Pennington, Student Council acknowledges that students share a concern about the curriculum, but it is a much larger and more complex issue than some might understand. 

“With concerns like these, because we are not going to somehow miraculously figure out how to manage a school in one Student Council meeting, you’re meant to talk about this and advocate it,” Brent said. “If an individual did want to open up the discussion to the entire school through Student Council, that’s something we can do.”

The Secret Meme Club considers U-High’s start time, the amount of assemblies, and overall mental health of students to be the biggest issues, and many of their memes look to address those topics. The founder believes these issues are driven by the culture of the school.

“You can’t tie it specifically to the teachers or directly to the administration,” the founder said. “It’s this concept and expectation of a higher academic rigor at Lab, and that kind of influences teachers.” 

The Secret Meme Club hopes to use their memes as a way to start a dialogue about these problems. 

The purpose is to bring up the conversation, because until there is dialogue, nothing can actually be done.

— Secret Meme Club Founder

“The purpose is to bring up the conversation, because until there is dialogue, nothing can actually be done,” the founder said. “Then we want to also try and offer solutions, which, first of all, really shouldn’t be the students’ job to figure out. If it comes to that, we will offer solutions because that’s the only way to really move this forward.” 

Ultimately, the group acknowledges that even though they may not receive all the attention they were hoping for, their messages are still reaching people.

“If people keep seeing our posters of seeing a problem once or talking about it, even if they don’t consciously realize it, we’re planting ideas in their head,” the founder said. “You can’t stop that. That’s unconscious bias — you can’t really avoid it, and it’s hard to notice, but it’s there. And the moment we do that, and plant the seed in people’s brains, that can really start a movement and let us gain traction.”