Get Involved: Sports RSOs happy to return after year of COVID-19 restrictions

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With a new school year up and running again, many sports Registered Student Organizations are back and better than ever.

RSOs across campus were affected immensely this past year with a large number of restrictions placed on activities and gatherings limited to a certain number of people. Specifically with Sports RSOs, since there is so much physicality involved in sports, many of these clubs were extremely limited with how they could continue their clubs.

As of late, with an increased number of vaccinated students, restrictions have lightened  and activities have resumed once again. RSOs such as the Climbing and Gymnastics clubs have seen growing numbers in the past year and especially now with students returning to campus and many restrictions being lifted.

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Barhaug said the club has expanded, gaining nearly four times the number of members that there was last year.

“It was a lot smaller then and there were very few regulars I saw,” Barhaug said. “I think there were maybe around 15-25 people then. Now we boast about 95 people, so it’s definitely swelled since then.”

Climbing Club President Madeleine Barhaug said she balances several different tasks in order to keep the club running. 

“It’s not just welcoming everyone as the face of the club, it’s social media, PR, tracking the input and output of our funds, and doing a bunch of different safety checks and safety tests, especially with climbing because it’s inherently dangerous,” Barhaug said.

Gymnastic Club Vice President Matthew Ruiz manages his club in the actual practice field, rather than office work like Barhaug would have as president.

“I focus on the floor work rather than the office stuff. The president focuses on going to meetings and making sure everyone knows what they’re doing. I teach gymnastics and thats my main focus on it,” Ruiz said.

Gymnastics Club also experienced a large increase in membership, according to the Vice President Matthew Ruiz. 

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“When I was a freshman and joined, we had around 12 people in the club and now we have upwards of 30 members,” Ruiz said.  “I’m proud of everyone in Gymnastics Club bringing it together to make it what it is now, which is breaking into the competitive side.”

The president and executives of each club have their own method of funding and promoting the clubs. Grace Durocher Co-President of the Women’s Volleyball RSO said her club has found success with apparel fundraisers among other things. 

“We have done an apparel fundraiser where we’re selling shirts and sweatshirts that say Women’s Club Volleyball. This semester we’re thinking of a food fundraiser, and then just kind of like sharing that with our friends and family on social media, Durocher said.

Durocher said the executives of the club have had to build an almost entirely new team from last season. 

“We only had four returning girls . . .but we have a lot of girls that are coming out so I think we’ll have plenty of players,” Durocher said.

The Women’s Volleyball Club was one of the RSOs that was unable to operate during the 2020 school year due to Covid Restrictions. 

“Just with all the restrictions and everything, they decided that it would be safest and best if we didn’t play just with it being so hard to play with a mask on and then we were going to have to sanitize balls and equipment and everything,” Durocher said. 

Covid took away an outlet for many students in athletic clubs Durocher said. Many students join these clubs for a large variety of reasons. 

Durocher said most students join to find a space to get away from some of their classes.

“You get in such a rhythm with your classes where you’re just going to class and doing homework, it’s just draining. So it offers a space to just do something that’s fun and that you enjoy doing and to relieve stress and hang out with people who also enjoy playing,” Durocher said.

Ruiz said most students end up joining Gymnastics Club because of the quality of the people involved.

“People think it’s interesting because of the flipping aspect of it, but students join because of the people in it,” Ruiz said. “The people aspect is probably more important than what we’re actually doing. I could be doing anything, but I’d have a great time just being around the people that are fun to be with.”

Sports RSOs like the ones mentioned can be a great tool to get student’s bodies moving, according to Ruiz.

“My main goal with teaching them this isn’t to get them Olympian level,” Ruiz said. “It’s to get them more comfortable with their bodies and get them to move. I think of it as in an Apocalypse and who would survive. My goal is to make them understand what their body is capable of.”

RSOs can also be an extremely useful tool for new and returning students to get to know some of their peers. Barhaug said one of the purposes of putting the club together is to get people to try activities they might be unfamiliar with.

“It’s bringing people of the same interest together and getting people who have never tried something to try something new,” Barhaug said.  “Freshman and sophomore year is stressful for some people because it’s a new place and you don’t know anyone. It gets you meeting really awesome people and if you enjoy it then that’s something for you to do outside of school.”

The importance of getting involved is something Ruiz said will get student’s minds off of the difficulties of studying all the time.

“The more involved you are, the happier you will be,” Ruiz said. “Doing nothing but school sucks. Doing something to get your mind off of it can reset you to get more work done in the end.”

You can begin the search for an RSO of your own liking, or start your own RSO at getinvolved.siu.edu.

 

Sports reporter Joseph Bernard can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @Jojobernard2001.

To stay up to date on all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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