Whether you are a lifelong climber, raised in competitive youth climbing ranks, or just discovered rock climbing as an adult, you have reached the point where you find yourself eating, sleeping, and breathing climbing and climbing content. However, you have no one to trade beta or watch the latest Reel Rock film. Don't worry. Many current or potential rock climbing nerds are all over your college campus, so this is your sign to find them.
Why Start a College Climbing Club?
The better question is, why do you climb? Is it the joy it brings to you? The challenge? Maybe it looks cool, or you feel strong? Whatever your reason, you likely want to start the club to connect with like-minded people or to share the joy and strength you have found with others (and simultaneously increase your happiness). While you reflect on your reasons, consider these three motives that have led other college students to start clubs at their universities:
Everyone has their 'third place.' Their first place is home, the second is work, and the third is where they can enjoy themselves and feel safe and welcomed. If you are considering starting a climbing club, the climbing wall is likely your third place, and this club will become a safe and welcoming third place for all future members.
Exercise. Yeah, we all know it's essential. But climbing alone is not fun unless you're a lonely boulder-bro. Climbing can be as much a social sport as a physical sport, so why not combine the two?
Escape from Schoolwork
Every college student is plagued with endless homework, exams, and projects. If you do schoolwork 24/7, you'll go insane, but if you climb 24/7, you'll have no skin on your fingertips. Enter your climbing club - a few hours a week where everyone can escape from school, laugh, relax, and have fun.
Starting a club is no small feat, so take time to articulate to yourself or someone going along this journey with you why you are trying to start a collegiate climbing club. It is crucial to know your 'why' to stay motivated when there are hiccups and for the overall success of your club.
Okay, you're sure you want to start one. See the four specific steps on how to get the ball rolling.
How to Start a College Climbing Club
Climb at your campus' climbing wall or your local climbing gym. Make an effort to introduce yourself to other collegiate students. Garner interest and make your idea known - at most schools, you'll need a handful of people 'signed up to become a club officially.
Flyers (aka Social Media)
Promote, promote, promote! Social Media is undeniably the best tool for reaching college students (honestly, who reads printed flyers anymore?) Get creative! Make fun and informative social media posts about meeting/practice times and locations. Post it on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Discord, and Tiktok, and get everyone you know to share/repost!
Talk to Rec Center/Outdoor Adventure Program
Make it a priority to build a relationship with your school's Rec Center or Outdoor Program (essentially, whoever runs the climbing wall at your school). You'll likely be increasing the number of climbers at the wall, so communicating with them is crucial for safety and positive relations.
Talk to a Local Climbing Gym
If your school doesn't have a climbing wall, this is CRITICAL (how else will you climb?)! But regardless, the climbing community is fantastic. The more you connect with local climbers, the more opportunities you will have for the club, and you may even score some discounted membership/day pass rates.
So, are you ready to start a college climbing club?
College climbing clubs can help increase joy, support college students to find their third place and break up the stressful academic load. Does your school have a college climbing club? If not, what's holding you back from starting one? Let us know in the comments below!