Club sports are an integral part of university life for many students. At the University, the more visible varsity sports teams, which accommodate only a small fraction of the student body, are complemented by the large number of club sports. According to the Campus Recreation website, the University has 37 different club sports, rangin from fencing to ultimate frisbee. Open to all University students, regardless of skill level, club sports contribute to the physical health and well-being of the students who participate, as they emphasize peer leadership and student development outside the classroom. Thus, the Editorial Board recommends that Campus Rec better support clubs with start-up funding and fundraising assistance.
Club sports face specific challenges that don’t exist for Varsity sports. For clubs just starting up, Campus Rec requires that the officers submit paperwork and attend meetings and training sessions, but does not allocate funding for them from the budget that year, as the Sport Clubs Handbook says that “new clubs are ineligible for financial support until the next budget cycle and full school year.” But for club sports still getting organized, unlike other established clubs, more start-up funds for expenses such as equipment may be necessary, not less. The Board recognizes that the University may want club founders to demonstrate that students are interested in participating in their sport before funding is guaranteed, but the Board believes more clubs are likely to suffer under the current policy than waste funds under a new policy. New clubs need money upfront, and the Board recommends that Campus Rec provide more assistance, whether in the form of actual financial resources or fundraising help, to alleviate this problem.
Additionally, for club sports that have already been established, Campus Rec could provide greater help in fundraising throughout the school year. Currently, the club sports handbook lists fundraising options as “soliciting donations from friends, family, and alumni and working different events around campus.” However, “clubs are only allowed to actively solicit funds from parents and alumni during the Fall semester.” Even though the Office of Development helps teams send out solicitation letters, newsletters, email correspondence and telephone campaigns, some club sports find themselves without the funds necessary to compete. To facilitate more fundraising, Campus Rec could offer opportunities for club sports to form fundraising coalitions, and help them hold fundraising events where the proceeds would be awarded fairly, for example, based on the number of each club sport’s participants.
Because club sports play an important role in the lives of University students, the Board recommends that Campus Rec provide more financial assistance to club sports teams. Implementing these measures into next year’s handbook policies would help Campus Rec cover all their bases.