Club sports working to become accessible

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DePaul crew has expanded to having multiple levels of men's and women's teams. (Photo courtesy of DEPAUL CREW)

DePaul crew has expanded to having multiple levels of men’s and women’s teams. (Photo courtesy of DEPAUL CREW)

It’s six o’clock in the morning and the sun is just rising in the east, casting beautiful colors across the already-gorgeous Chicago skyline. In a rowing boat on the Chicago River sit eight dedicated DePaul students, one of the many club sport teams DePaul has to offer its students: the rowing team.

DePaul now offers both men’s and women’s rowing teams. Five to six times a week the students that make up the DePaul rowing team, more commonly known as crew, are out on the Chicago River working together to become better as a team.

Sophomore Jens Ericson is now in his second year with the team. His dedication to be at every practice is largely based on not wanting to let his teammates down, he said. If the team can’t get the eight required to row the boat, then no one goes out.

“It’s accountability and self-discipline,” Ericson said

Rowing is just one of the many club sports available to DePaul students.  Club athletics include traditional sports such as figure skating, ice hockey, basketball and golf. However, many non-traditional options such as ultimate frisbee and dodge ball are offered as well.

DePaul also has multiple dance clubs on campus that range from swing to hip-hop.

Nu’ance Inspirational Dance Team is a multicultural dance team that creates and performs various shows every year to encourage and support women. The club has 25 members, and is celebrating five years at DePaul with a dance expo.

They have multiple shows coming up, and their next is on Mother’s Day on May 8. The theme of this show is simply celebrating women, and all are welcome to join. The show will be held from 5-8 p.m. at the DePaul Student Center in room 120 A/B.

Nu’ance is partnering with other dance companies, as well as local organizations, to put on this showcase. The showcase will feature dance routines that celebrate women and the event will include a mother-daughter dance contest in honor of Mother’s Day. The event will also include presents for moms, and a presentation of roses to the mothers at the event.

Emeri Gray, club president of Nu’ance, suggests an information fair be held for club sports at DePaul. 

“Even though Nu’ance is a dance team on campus, a lot of people don’t know that we are a registered club sport. I think more folks that are less inclined to athletics may be turned off by the title ‘Club Sport,’ so letting everyone know that there is a wide range of activities that fall under this umbrella would be helpful,” Gray said in an email.

All of the DePaul club programs are offered to currently-enrolled students, and just require a signed waiver to participate. However, some clubs do hold tryouts, but as Ericson pointed out, sometimes making the team is just a matter of dedication to the team. In the case of crew, even if someone doesn’t have experience they can still make the team by showing a dedication to the team and a strong work ethic. After all, it’s not easy showing up at 6 a.m. five days a week for practice.

Club sports are also responsible for recruiting and advertising their sport by their own means. DePaul does not help in that process, and it may be the lack of exposure that keeps some students in the dark about the options that are available to them.

“I didn’t even know we had (dance clubs) in the first place,” sophomore Valerie Cienfuegos said.

The information is out there, but it’s  currently not easily accessible. Cienfuegos admitted that she had looked on the DePaul’s athletic page to find out about sports on campus, but didn’t find any that were open to students. Currently, students need to access the campus recreation page, and then navigate to the club sports directory for information.

Other solutions that were mentioned  was to have information during Welcome Week for students. Had there been information more readily available to Cienfuegos, she said she definitely would have joined a sport.