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You can help: Club gymnastics president speaks on improving visibility

Club Gymnastics // Courtesy

Club Gymnastics Team

Clemson University boasts a thriving athletic culture with renowned varsity programs that have brought the school national recognition. However, beyond Division I, the University’s club sports teams have struggled to gain visibility on campus.
The Tiger sat down with Olivia Towey, president of the club gymnastics team, to gain a deeper understanding of their challenges and the efforts being made to overcome them. We delve into the realities of club sports at Clemson and shed light on how these teams are working towards greater representation and support.
Sarah Pepe (SP): Do you feel that club sports get enough recognition from the students on campus?
Olivia Towey (OT): Students that are involved in club sports all kind of know a little bit more about what’s going on, but I’m not really sure how much other students know. 
SP: Do you think that club sports are fairly supported by the University?  
OT: We are somewhat supported; I think that we could definitely get more in terms of monetary support and funding. I know they have a budget, and obviously, that budget isn’t limitless, but I think club sports should get their own section of the funding instead of being grouped in with all the other clubs just because we do represent the school in a different way than a regular club that may meet once a month. We do fundraisers, and we have to cancel practice that night because we need so many people to do the fundraisers that we have to cancel practice that night, so it kind of takes away from our progress in the sport. 
SP: What do you think students and faculty can do as the Clemson community to help club sports? 
OT: Just having more recognition, obviously supporting fundraisers and also sharing our social media posts. We are supposed to have a meet that is closer to Clemson next year, so having people that come to that would be awesome, and in general, just supporting us and congratulating us means a lot. We used to have a home meet, but that got cut because of funding; they completely cut so much of club sports funding. 
SP: How did you keep your spirits up and keep your team so supportive of one another while feeling a lack of support from the rest of the Clemson community? 
OT: We try to make sure everyone is encouraging each other at practice. We have practice five days a week, but then we only have to go to eight a month, but just having attended more than those eight required a month. Also, supporting each other with things outside gymnastics has been really helpful. 
SP: What do you hope the future of the club gymnastics team looks like here at Clemson? 
OT: Hopefully, having a home meet and making the home meet next year a yearly thing. We did way better at nationals this year than we have ever before, so hopefully, continuing that and placing as a team would be really cool. Continuing to grow the program and making sure there is still recognition for it with the Division I team coming in and making sure people know there is still a club team. 
Interview responses were edited for length and clarity.

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Sarah Pepe
Sarah Pepe, Senior Reporter
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