During the past TCSA spring elections, the Trent Fencing student club got 746 positive votes (55%) to get a $2.00 dollar refundable levy.
Arthur talked with some members of the Fencing club. Courtney Peeters, Evan McDonnell and Grant Stott discussed some of the reasons why the group asked for the levy and what the group offers to the Trent University community.
The Trent Fencing Club was founded in 2013 to continue to legacy of fencing at Trent University after the varsity program was cut. It is divided between a competitive team and a club for those who want to learn how to fence.
Peeters also explained that the Fencing team has been around since the 70’s, and bouncing back from the cut by organizing as a club is a statement that they plan to stay around.
They argued that fencing is an excellent exercise and it provides an opportunity for those who are interested in trying a different sport. The club supplies equipment and lessons for people from all levels.
The club is also open to everybody, there are no cuts, and all members all welcome as long as they are interested. Students interested in joining the Fencing club do not need any previous experience and do not have to be athletically inclined to do well in the sport.
At the moment the club has approximately 80 registered members, 20 of which are in the competitive group. Peeters, Stott and McDonnell expressed that those recently starting in the world of fencing have a chance to learn the sport in a safe environment that is also instructive.
Peeters expressed that becoming a club was challenging, especially in the financial aspect. Once they organized themselves as a club, assembling an executive and attracting members, they figured out that a more sustained and reliable funding source was needed in order to assist to competitions and renew equipment.
As a result, they added that applying for the levy would allow them to get new equipment as well as assist those looking to challenge themselves in competitions, where fees can be expensive.
Stott articulated that it is very important to fence with other people in order to improve since fencing against people with different styles is very instructive. The levy would allow the club to get more out of competitions, which would increase the level of the team.
Courtney explained that this year the Trent athletics conducted a pilot project where they sent the fencing team to the OUA’s finals. She added that one athlete finished fourth, and one of the women rocky was the second highest ranked after an amazing performance. The club finished 7th overall out of fourteen schools.
McDonnell also added that they hope that athletics will look at how they have done as a club and recognize that the team is able to take it to a more competitive level.
He explained that something that separates fencing from other sports, especially rowing, is that there is no novice category so new people are going against the same people that go to world cups and national tournaments. If there were a novice tournament we would have probably done extremely well, he added.
The Fencing club is in a grey area since it is not as intense as a varsity team but demanding enough to appeal to those students that are interested in doing an organized sport activity and being active students.
The approval of the levy will allow them to expand their activities as well as better support their members. It will also enable them to renew equipment and make competitions more accessible.
Fencing presents itself as an alternative opportunity for those students interested in being active and challenging themselves to learn something new.