This semester, a group of New Paltz students are collaborating to bring a brand new club sport to campus. The New Paltz Archers, the school’s archery club, made their debut on Sept. 15 with a general interest meeting in the SUB Plaza at 8 p.m. Shea Dank and Issac Freierman, the club’s respective co-presidents, were shocked when around 50 people showed up, interested to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow.
The two met while they were playing on the school’s ultimate frisbee team, but had dreams beyond seeing plastic disks fly through the sky. “I haven’t really had the resources to shoot by myself since I came to New Paltz,” Dank explained to The Oracle, “I saw that Freierman had an interest in archery and I had an interest in archery, so I reached out to him and I was like, what interest would you have in creating an archery club?” Freierman was immediately on board and the two got together a group of interested friends to establish their E-board. “It’s been really nice building a community within the E-board already. I really feel like I’ve built a sense of leadership that I didn’t have before entering this club,” said Dank.
Although the club is new, they’re driven to make their mark on campus. With a purpose to “provide the students of New Paltz an opportunity to practice and try out archery,” they aim to create a relaxed and casual atmosphere where students have the freedom to come and go as they please. The New Paltz Archers’ focus is not on intense rigidity, but rather on fostering a supportive environment. Aside from teaching students how to shoot, they also have some long term goals that include transitioning the team from a club sport to an intramural sport. Freierman explained to The Oracle, “right now where we are is the soccer practice field and, this is kind of a year or even a couple of years in the future, but what we want to do is re-designate this as the archery range and get us official.”
However, although Dank, Frierman and the other E-board members have interested participants, they are still dealing with some issues that restrict lessons and practices to be held. The club is currently trying to get approval from the University Police Department, and things are looking hopeful. The archery club also faces problems with the Student Association due to their lack of funding. As per them being a new club, they were given a lower budget. “We just found out pretty much within the last week that we can’t use our own equipment. So now we have to work on finding funding for equipment that other students can use,” Dank said.
Besides the community that the club is fostering, Freierman told The Oracle that archery is “a very chill, relaxing sport. It can get you to a really good place in your mind. It can really help you focus and it’s just something very enjoyable,” Dank added. “When you really get down to it, it’s quite a slow sport. It’s not very high intensity. So people who do struggle with those things like running really fast or all that, they have this place where they can work on their hand-eye coordination skills.”
With the amount of people interested and the little resources they have, the New Paltz Archers are planning on hosting multiple fundraisers throughout the year to help with their budget, so keep your eyes peeled for a potential bake sale or music event off campus. You can follow them on Instagram @newpaltzarchers and join their Discord. They’re planning on posting polls students can respond to that’ll help them out with planning future practices.