Hillsdale College’s new Archery Club hopes that by next year, it will be recognized as an official campus organization with a competitive team and ability to apply for funding.
The club held its first informational meeting Thursday to communicate its presence to students and elect officers. At this first gathering, the club also gained eight or nine new members.
“I was really kind of shocked at the amount of interest there was,” club President freshman Joshua Brown said. “I thought there’d only be two or three other people.”
The club has applied for status as an official campus organization with the Student Federation to gain the right to apply for funding. However, it has to go through a year of probationary status first.
Brown said he hopes that at the time the club can form a team and begin competing with other schools.
“Fairly soon we’ll be able to start holding internal competitions with each other and hope to branch out soon to local competitions,” Brown said. “We would be competing as individuals in local and more general competitions.”
Brown, who has been shooting with both recurve and compound bows for about two years, first spoke with Spieth about the possibility of an archery club when he visited campus as a prospective in the spring, no club had been started when he returned to campus, despite Hillsdale’s new archery facility in the Halter Shooting Sports Education Center.
“Despite there being several really good archers on campus, no one had really taken the initiative,” Brown said. “So I went out to the range and for a couple of weeks I kind of pestered Mr. Spieth for a while, trying to get information on people and names.”
The two began sending all-campus emails, and the club slowly began to take shape.
Membership in the club currently requires a basic understanding of target shooting, an interest in competing, and posession personal shooting equipment. According to Brown, this last stipulation owes to the club’s current lack of funding and the level of commitment required.
“As soon as possible we’re going to form a team, so it’s more serious,” he said. “I had had some people express interest who had never shot before, and for that, we have the archery class here that’s offered every semester.”
For the club officers, their previous experience with archery before college fostered a passion that made starting an archery club in the midst of busy college life a worthwhile pursuit.
“I started when I was about eight because I fell in love with Robin Hood,” club Secretary sophomore Rebekah Roundey said. “It’s a very graceful shooting sport. It’s almost an art in how focused you have to be, and the dedication and discipline it requires — and the focus.”
“It’s a great character builder because it takes a ton of time and practice for very little measurable results at the beginning,” he said. “It’s kind of like playing a musical instrument. A lot of repetition, and it takes a lot of patience as well. It’s a lot more intellectual than some other sports.”