By ANNA ELIAS | Contributor
Six students, friends and co-workers who span across three different educational institutions – Washtenaw Community College, the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University – are starting three chapters of the Wolverine Skydiving Club.
Among their goals: to form competitive collegiate skydiving teams.
Two WCC students, Kyle Jacobs and Rob Harris, attended a recent UM chapter meeting to learn how to start their own.
Five of the six students in the club are licensed skydivers, with one student on her way to licensing in the accelerated free-fall training progression. The home dropzone and employer for most of these students is Skydive Tecumseh, which will become the home dropzone for all three chapters of the club.
“The primary focus of this club will be to build a community of student skydivers that can compete with each other as well as encourage each other,” said UM club president Lisa Miller, 20, of Beverly Hills, Mich., “And to have a group large enough that we can create four-way teams and compete with other schools, and eventually go to the National Collegiate Parachuting Championships.”
Miller works manifest at Skydive Tecumseh when school is not in session. She has more than 100 jumps and, as a student, concentrates on women’s studies and statistics.
Other jumpers are optimistic about the club as well. Jacobs, in his first year at WCC and uncertain about his major, is a video editor at Skydive Tecumseh. He has 32 jumps.
“I’m hoping the club will allow anyone interested a chance to pursue their interest,” said Jacobs, 23, of Tecumseh.
All skill levels are welcome to join, from seasoned skydivers to those wanting to learn about the sport to determine whether to try it.
Those who want to make a jump before the commitment to licensing typically begin with a tandem skydive, which entails an instructor being strapped to the student’s back. The instructor does all the work while the student enjoys the ride.
During the off-season, the club will meet and plan events for the new season. The events will be geared toward developing lasting relationships with fellow club members.
“The amount of opportunities that it can bring into people’s lives are endless, whether they end up traveling the world or just growing from the overall experience to become a greater individual,” Jacobs said.
Licensed skydivers have the ability to jump across the country and world as they travel. Traveling to other dropzones around the country may become a possibility as members become licensed.
“We’re looking to provide students the opportunity to make new friends while learning about skydiving and possibly discover a new hobby,” said Harris, 22, of Clinton.
And he knows how life can be altered by skydiving; his primary job for the past two years has been jumping out of airplanes. A business major, Harris comes from a skydiving family and is a tandem jump instructor and videographer at Skydive Tecumseh. He has about 1,600 jumps.