Club Sports: It's More Than Playing

July 22, 2021

Club Sports: It's More Than Playing

Sports are an integral part of the culture in the United States. Many people are connected to sports through playing or watching. But while people sometimes think of sports as competition and winning, Grand Valley State University Recreation & Wellness knows it's more than playing. It’s about learning, friendship and student development. As one of the largest programs in the country, RecWell’s Club Sports program facilitates these opportunities for all students to get involved. 

GVSU offers more than 50 club sport teams in coed, men’s and women’s organizations. These teams are registered student organizations, and all team operations are managed by student leaders and club members. Students might join a team because of the love of the sport, but they walk away with so much more.

“Club athletes learn valuable transferable skills in budgeting, conflict management, event planning and mentorship to apply to their future careers,” said Bri Slager, Club Sports & Student Development Coordinator for RecWell. “Club Sports at GVSU are a great doorway to unlimited possibilities.”

As team run organizations, club sports get to set their own goals. Some clubs are highly competitive and compete against club teams at other universities. These trips include local, regional, national, and even international travel. Some clubs are more recreational in nature, and while they don’t travel, skill development and appreciation for the sport are learned. Almost all clubs have dues payments that are required for participation, but clubs work hard through fundraising and budgeting to keep out of pocket costs to a minimum for students. 

Club sports are different from NCAA sports, but in many instances offer similar competition and structure for students who want to compete at the highest level they can. While NCAA programs are coached by full time employees, many of RecWell’s club sports teams have part-time coaches who have a passion for the sport they facilitate and help the club sport meet its goals. Some of the coached clubs do actively recruit members to join the team, but most of RecWell’s clubs offer opportunities for students to join during the academic year. 

“Our clubs strive to cater to all levels of participation and skill. Some clubs may have traveling squads in addition to members that simply wish to practice. Some unique sports that are open to individuals who have never participated in them before include: boxing, dodgeball, equestrian, strength, rifle, rowing, rugby, taekwondo, and ultimate frisbee,” Slager said. 

Club sports are the doorway to community to many students who attend GVSU. Some seek out sport opportunities because they played the sport in high school and want to continue their love for competition. Others participated in one sport , but want to try a new sport. Some students are just looking to try something new, meet new friends, and be active. Whatever one’s motivation, club sports offer an inclusive opportunity for all students. 

“Students love having a community of individuals with similar interests to hangout with on campus. Some want to win national championships with their teammates. Club sports are truly what you make them become during your time at GVSU,” said Slager.

For more information about club sports, check out our website, email us, or look for our club sports teams at Campus Life Night on August 29.

Article by: Mitch Eastlick

This article is part of our summer series on RecWell offerings. To see all our articles, sign up for a our newsletter. Other topics this summer have included outdoor adventures & wellness. For more information on RecWell go to

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Page last modified July 22, 2021