SEU climbing offers community, leadership experience for club president


Club Climbing President Rebecca Darling

Perhaps as one of the more well-known outdoor activities, climbing has the ability to offer people the opportunity to feel accomplishment through hard-work and physical persistence.

Even as one of the more popular club sports on campus, fortunately, club climbing is available to join as a St. Edward’s student.

“The Climbing Team is a really supportive environment… It’s just a good place to hang out with friends, do something difficult that makes you feel good, and it’s a nice stress-reliever to a lot of people. It’s a lot of fun!” senior club president Rebecca Darling says.

Last year, Darling served as the club’s vice president. Through the position, she was able to observe and obtain all the necessary skills it takes to lead a club and understand just how important it is to be a responsible president that can always reach out to others and set a good example.

“It’s my last semester, so I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on things. [Being president] has definitely given me more organizational skills. [Things like] keeping track of people and kind of learning to make sure everyone is doing okay… and making sure that everyone is happy in here and doing well.”

Recruiting people to join is not an issue for the club, considering that around 60 people showed up for tryouts last semester. However, in addition to funding for the club, they also face the challenge of not having a place to practice on campus, making being a member of the club a bit of a challenge.

The team currently practices at Crux Climbing Center. Although the center is close to campus, a paid membership is required to use its facilities.

“One of the major issues is accessibility just because it is down the street and we don’t have a facility on campus. A lot of other schools have climbing gyms on campus, which is nice,” Darling says, “so, that kind of can be a problem, I think it does decrease who can be on the team just because dues are pretty expensive because of memberships.”

Even through these obstacles, the team remains confident in their hard work by consistently looking forward to improving themselves every time the opportunity presents itself while uniting for a common goal.

“This is the first year that we’re going to nationals… so I think the goal is to get more people ready for that. And because we do have more freshmen this year, I think it’ll be cool because they’ll be able to have a good coach for a longer amount of time. So, in theory, they’ll get really good by the time they graduate, which is exciting. So [the goal is to] get more people to nationals and improve our personal points at competitions,” Darling says.

Darling, who has been climbing since the second semester of her freshman year, says the activity has contributed to her overall experience at St. Edward’s. Outside of her three years on the climbing club, Darling says that her four years at St. Edward’s have been special to her and has attributed much of that to her success.

“I think [St. Edward’s has] given me a lot of opportunities to connect with professors and also to connect with students and build networks that way. I just like being on campus,” Darling says. “It’s fun and everyone is really nice for the most part. I think the size is cool because I could see someone I know every day but I can also a meet someone new… The liberal arts education definitely opened my mind up to a lot of different things I hadn’t considered before.”

Out of the many valuable characteristics that one can learn from club climbing, Darling says that creating bonds and strengthening trust are some of the most rewarding attributes. “[My favorite thing is] the family dynamic that we have and everyone being so close and tight… I think just getting to know people really well at all grades has been really fun. And if we’re doing rope climbing where we have to catch each other, it’s a huge trust building thing,” Darling says. “So, that’s been cool. To build pretty strong relationships with people because of the stuff we are doing.”

Though she is still currently exploring her options for life after St. Edward’s, Darling says that she will continue to help out where it is needed and still contribute to the future of the club.

“I don’t really know totally what my plans are. I’m close with the VP that’s coming up as president next year so I told him to call me if he needs anything. I’d like to come back and see people – maybe do some climbing with them.”