Neg Kreyol, an organization at the University of South Florida that empowers Haitian men, was almost deactivated as an official club due to the new minimum member policy.
The Center for Student Involvement has added the new policy “10 to Start, 10 to Maintain” beginning in the spring of 2012 that states all clubs must maintain 10 members on its roster.
CSI Director Kristie Gerber said, “In order to have vibrant clubs, we decided to have core membership of 10 people. Normally, two members run the club and two members burn out. We want the ones we have to be strong and vibrant.”
Neg Kreyol’s purpose is to promote more Haitian men as leaders. It wants to create a scholarship fund for Haitian students, participate in service activities at USF and reach out to Haitian teenagers in high schools about college opportunities.
Ralphe Jean-Poix, president of Neg Kreyol, said, “It has helped me become more responsible, become a better leader and I can say that for anybody who has been a part of the club.”
The organization’s five registered members were given a deadline to fill the roster so they implemented advertising strategies including posting flyers and promoting the club at events of related organizations like Club Creole.
Although the average number of incoming members per semester is one to three the club was focused on recruiting to avoid becoming an inactive organization.
Finding members for a club that targets a highly focused demographic and is only a couple of years old was definitely a hurdle. However, in January, the club surpassed its average with four new recruits attending their weekly interest meetings.
Luther Pierre, vice president, said, “I’d say we’ve been successful. I think we will have 10 members with the current people that have said yes.”
After rigorously posting fliers throughout campus, Neg Kreyol resolved the issue. The club recruited the last of its 10 members in the third week of February and will continue being an official USF club.
A very small number of the 16, 201 male students on the Tampa campus are participating in Group Fitness, a program provided by Campus Recreation.
The program had 10,182 participants last fall, of which only 9.23 percent were male. According to data provided by Susan Hamilton, the Group Fitness coordinator, 2,842 females attended sessions in October 2011, but only 304 males participated.
So far this spring, 3,178 students have attended the live classes and 90.4 percent were female.
Sophomore Hart Collier said he spends 15 hours a week lifting weights and wouldn’t spend an hour of that time on Group Fitness sessions.
“I’d rather play basketball,” he said. “It’s not manly! You’re not going to see a guy trying to get jacked doing Zumba.”
Kayla Keene, the Pilates and boxing trainer at Campus Recreation, said out of the 50 students who attend her classes, only two to three are males.
“Guys want to work with weights and not a lot of weights are used in fitness classes,” Keene said. “The guys that come think it’s great. But the guys that don’t come are kind of prejudiced towards the classes.”
The Yoga Sculpt class uses weights. Amanda Reddick, a certified Yoga Sculpt trainer, said using 7.5 pounds is tough for guys and once they realize that they keep coming back. There is a 100 percent retention rate among males in her class.
“Guys think they won’t get anything out if it,” she said. “But every guy that I have had are regulars because of how much they’ve liked the class.”
“I’ve done Zumba, Cardio Funk and Cardio Pilates,” said John Hanson, a regular at Group Fitness sessions who alternates weights and cardio daily. “There’s nothing girly about them. They’re just activities in cardio.”
Collier said lifting weights is tougher. “If you gave me two weeks to work towards Zumba, I would be able to progress faster than them if they were to lift for two weeks,” he said.
Hanson disagrees. “It will knock them on their ass, they just don’t know that,” he said. “Cardio Pilates was a lot harder than any weights I’ve ever done.”
The trainers and the male attendees said they will continue to persuade male students to give Group Fitness a chance so they can reap its benefits and end the prejudice.
The University of South Florida’s Sport Club Council’s decision to regulate the definition of a sports club by the end of spring may relieve the funding issues of certain clubs.
A student-run Definition Committee at SCC wants to restrict the definition of what qualifies as a sports club for various reasons. “Right now it’s very diverse,” said SCC advisor Ashley Johnson. “We are looking to get a collective idea of what are sports clubs at USF, what should this group be.”
“We are looking to make our department function better so that every club we have is receiving what they need not only to function but succeed,” said Crystal Price, a member of the Definition Committee.
The SCC is assigned a unified budget by the Activities and Service Funds Committee. They then allocate the funds to approximately 45 sports clubs. According to the senate appropriations bill, sports clubs were allocated $226,000 for the fiscal year of 2010-2011, and $243,100 for the current fiscal year.
SCC’s annual funding increases by small amounts, but the average funding per club decreases as the number of sports clubs increases.
“When I first got here in 2008-2009 they were getting $215,000 for 20 clubs,” Johnson said. “Now, they fund nearly 45 clubs with approximately $250,000.”
The budget requests of individual clubs are rarely met. The Rugby Football Club, for example, requested $62,982.80, but it received only $5,906.82 for the fiscal year of 2011-2012. Despite being one of the highest-funded clubs, the Rowing Club uses old equipment. Jesse Beeson-Tate, the club’s assistant coach said that a rowing team is a very expensive team to run. One 10-year old boat costs about $12,000.
Price said that if they had the facilities they would let everyone be a sports club. But some clubs may be dropped from SCC after the redefinition, which will optimize the use of its limited resources.
“Many clubs do the bare minimum and could actually function exactly the same if they were a student organization,” Price said.
Currently clubs under the SCC can capitalize on priority booking at the campus recreation center, event coverage, tables and tents, and storage for equipment.
The Definition Committee is still researching sports club facilities at other universities, and hopes to write a proposal for the Sport Club Executive Board to vote on by March.