Non competitive clubs offer advantages to students


Courtesy of Nick Hamel

The ISU mountaineering and climbing club visited Mount Rainier on its trip to Washington last spring.

Harrison March

Sports clubs at Iowa State typically revolve around the chance to remain competitive, but at a level below the varsity squads on campus. Often overlooked, however, are the clubs that provide an experience unique from competition-driven groups.

Without the pressure to perform at a competitive level week in and week out, clubs based on common interests serve as a great opportunity to have a good time with fellow students and bond over passions for the activity.

“I’ve been climbing for five years,” said Nick Hamel, president of the ISU Mountaineering and Climbing Club and sophomore in industrial engineering. “The [climbing] club is a great way to meet a good group of people who are pretty laid back and just really enjoy climbing.”

The Mountaineering Club has over 30 active members, according to Hamel. The club has already made two out-of-state trips this year and hopes to continue their tradition of traveling to Mt. Rainier in the spring semester.

ISU’s aviation club, the Flying Cyclones, also seeks to engage participants by having them actively involved with all facets of flying.

“The club is very member-oriented,” said Sara Koniecko, junior in aerospace engineering and president of Flying Cyclones. “The club is open to anybody who just wants to learn more about aviation, and we do what we can to help them get there.”

Koniecko, who has her pilot’s license, also said that the Flying Cyclones help provide members with a more affordable way to take the general information portion of the pilot’s license test.

“We try to give people the chance once per year,” Koniecko said of the licensure preparation. “We can help them pass the basic knowledge portion of the test and from there they just have to pass the flying test.”

Teaching the fundamentals of a sport is crucial in clubs that revolve around common interests. According to Roberto Cobian, sophomore in biology and president of the ISU Longboarding Club, this allows for all members to have a better time.

“I try to teach the basics to everybody who wants to learn them,” Cobian said. “Once everyone knows how to push, balance themselves and the rest [of the basics], riding starts to be a lot more fun.”

Cobian also uses his leadership role in the club to promote safety in the sport of longboarding.

“Most importantly, we want everyone who rides to know how to do it safely,” Cobian said. “We teach how to act around cars and that riders should always wear helmets, even [when riding] between classes.”

Though these clubs highlight the fun to be had with sports, they still provide members with the chance to improve their skills.

“Anyone can climb,” Hamel said. “But being around people who can and want to make you better is great … [Climbing] can be competitive, but you don’t have to be spectacular to enjoy the sport.”