Graphic by Jiwon Shin/The Gazelle

New funding model prompts re-evaluation of Athletic SIGs

On Aug. 20, an email was sent to the leaders of all athletic Student Interest Groups informing them that the Athletics Department will no longer fund ...

Sep 12, 2015

Graphic by Jiwon Shin/The Gazelle
On Aug. 20, an email was sent to the leaders of all athletic Student Interest Groups informing them that the Athletics Department will no longer fund professional instruction. This news accompanied a previous policy of not providing funding for personal equipment or apparel.
Associate Director of Athletics Wayne Young explained that the new arrangement is part of a general shift in which responsibility for sports SIGs will be returning to Student Life and leaving Athletics.
“We're going to slowly push [SIGs] away and we'll do what an athletic department does, which is competitive athletics, intramurals, physical education classes," he said. “Our goal is to reach as many people as we can in the best way we can."
The change has forced some athletic SIGs to re-evaluate their programs. Senior Adley Kim, who is the president of the Capoeira SIG, said that a lack of funding could threaten his group’s future.
“We need money for uniforms and we need money for instructors — by cutting those two you're essentially killing the club,” he said.
Attitude, a dance SIG at NYU Abu Dhabi, is now charging students to cover the cost of instruction.
“That's the way we're keeping Attitude alive,” said sophomore Sebastian Grube, the group's president.
Associate Director of Student Activities Vic Lindsay suggested that requiring students to pay might result in a more dedicated group.
“For the short term SIGs may get smaller, but then what will be left behind will hopefully be a much more concentrated, a much more focused group of people,” he said.
Another possible solution for SIGs is peer-led instruction. Kim leads a class of beginners but noted, “It's fine if I'm teaching once a week or so, but I'm not a qualified teacher. I'm still a student myself.”
The timing of the announcement caught some SIG leaders off-guard. Grube noted, “The email came as a shock because all of a sudden everything was gone, and then we had a week to figure things out.”
Assistant Dean of Campus Life Renee Dugan said the university strove to inform SIGs as soon as possible, but the funding model for the fall semester was not entirely clear last spring.
“What we were trying to avoid was for students to come back, and if things had changed drastically, feel like they had no idea,” she added. “For some groups, [the changes] may have been clearer than for others.”
SIG leaders still hope they will be able to reach a solution with Student Life — one that will not require students to cover the entire cost of professional instruction. Grube hoped that his SIG’s high numbers of participation will demonstrate the worth of providing instructors and trainers.
“Maybe as we go along, if the participation is really high and that we're including a lot of members of the community in our SIG, we'll be able to work out a co-pay system with Student Life,” he said.
Yet Kim envisioned problems with a co-pay system if student numbers fluctuate over the course of the semester.
“If it's done on a per class basis, you can’t always guarantee there's going to be a lot of people coming,” he said.
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