Club Sports give opportunities to WKU community

Anna Lawson

The WKU community would not be what it is today without fanatic sports fans.

However, instead of just cheering from the stands, these enthusiasts can get their hands dirty through club sports.

WKU Club Sports are open to any student, staff or faculty and do not require any tryouts. They are also completely student run.

Sport Club graduate assistant Kimbra Merchant says the clubs allow people to connect with others in a meaningful way.

“Programs such as sport clubs allow students to get involved on campus and meet people who have common interests,” she said. “These clubs can give students a sense of belonging on a campus when they may feel lost in the crowd.”

Merchant said that sense of community was her personal experience with club sports.

“The girls I played club rugby with in college are still some of my closest friends,” she said.

The program is currently sponsoring 20 active clubs. These clubs range anywhere from paintball and fencing, to soccer and lacrosse. Sport Club Coordinator Jordan Gardner oversees all of the clubs.

“Basically, I serve as a liaison to the clubs since our sport clubs are student-run organizations,” she said.

Gardner has always been active in sports and is well aware of the benefits that come with staying physically active during college. She hopes to give back to the department that gave her so much as a student. She also wants to give other students the opportunities she had.

“It’s very rewarding when a student contacts me after they’ve graduated from WKU to tell me how being a member of a sport club helped them, whether it be for professional or personal reasons,” she said.

Columbus, Ga. junior Emily Green is the women’s rugby club president. She joined the team her freshman year and said she loves the community that the sport fosters.

“During a match you are all opponents and fight as hard as you can to beat the other team, but after the game you are all ruggers, and all ruggers are not only friends, but family,” she said.

Green feels that playing a sport in college helps students to keep their minds off the stresses that come with being a student. However, it also introduces players to a whole new group of people that have similar interests.

“I know I will always have a group of people to fall back on if things get tough,” she said. “I’ve made some pretty good friends and I think that’s the best part of having teammates.”

These clubs also encourage students to become leaders, teach them how to delegate responsibility, become financially aware and communicate with others efficiently, Gardner said.

“Sports aren’t just about the physical aspect however. They can play a significant role in a student’s social, mental and emotional well-being too,” she said.

The department hopes to expand the program and make it more successful for the players to come.

“I would like to see our program add more sport clubs in the future in order to give our students more options and opportunities for participation,” Gardner said. “I also hope that our department can better assist our club financially in the future.”