Students are starting to feel a greater sense of school pride as club sports at UNB become increasingly integrated into the new, inclusive, Reds name. UNB offers a wide range of athletic opportunities for students of all experience levels. There are currently over 20 sports clubs with a variety of recreational and financial obligations. Club sports are student-run organizations with minimal resources from universities.
Club sports play an important role at UNB. They offer students a way to transition to university, meet new people, stay active and de-stress from the pressures of school and life. Students actively participating on sports teams demonstrate the importance of club sports and how they affect their student experience.
“I highly recommend it. It’s a good way to make friends who are in different faculties and I mean it’s just super fun. It’s a good time,” said Natalie LaPlante, a fifth-year student.
The transition from secondary to post-secondary education is no easy feat. Students are often leaving home for the first time, which can be intimidating and confusing. With club sports, students can create a sense of home by playing their favorite youth sports.
Having this connection to childhood or to people interested in the same sport as you can ease feelings of loneliness. Since club sports are open to anyone they allow an opportunity for interaction between years. This creates a comfortable setting for new students to ask for tips about school, living with roommates or time management.
Club sports are open to everyone. Fourth year student, Addy Carten, joined the Women’s Rugby team in her first year. “The fact that they’ll welcome literally anybody, like I had never even seen a rugby ball until I came here and they were like yeah sure you can play, like I actually got to play in games my first year,” said Carten.
Besides meeting new people, club sports is used by students to help manage their time. LaPlante says it’s better when she’s busy, “so doing my practicum and stuff and playing sports, I know I don’t have time to slack off, I have to do things and I find it a really good stress relief, especially during exams, if I can just go out on the field”.
With club teams, the level of commitment varies with each team, and clubs tend to be very understanding that your education or personal life may occasionally interfere with your ability to participate.
URec is doing an increasingly better job at promoting club sports at UNB. Athletes have cited improved communication between URec and Team Executives and a balance between the promotion of Club and Varsity sports. “UNB does a really good job of endorsing all their sports clubs,” said Carten.
For students thinking about the cost of club sports, URec and USport can assist with overcoming financial barriers. Costs are kept low to make sports a viable option for all students, regardless of their financial situation, and their staff are reputed for being understanding and willing to work with individuals who may not have the means to pay their fees at that time.
Club sports allow a low maintenance way for UNB to broaden their outreach to students and create a variety of opportunities that are fun, educating and beneficial. Club sports are known to improve student integration, increase attendance and retention and increase the potential for future alumni involvement.
Students considering joining a club sports team can expect to find a welcoming atmosphere where they can play for the sheer enjoyment of it, free from the pressures of varsity sports while keeping active and experiencing a true team atmosphere.