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Participation Growing in Club, Intramural Sports

Varsity teams are the tip of the athletics iceberg at Dartmouth.

"The campus landmarks that come to mind for students are the Baker-Berry Library, Thayer Dining Hall, Collis Center, the Hopkins Center and, now, the new Fitness Center in Alumni Gym," says Director of Athletics and Recreation Josie Harper.

Men's rugby
Men's rugby celebrated the September 2005 dedication of the Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse and Brophy Field with a friendly against Army. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Since it opened last spring as the capstone of the $16 million renovation of Alumni Gym, the 14,000-square foot center, crammed with cardio machines, tread climbers, stationary bikes, free weights, and other equipment, gives Dartmouth a state-of-the-art resource that's unrivaled in the Ivy League.

"Use of our fitness facilities by students, faculty, and staff has increased substantially," says Harper. "We're working on a full-year study of utilization to ensure we're meeting student needs sufficiently."

But fitness—with more than 7,800 participants in physical education and the Fitness and Lifestyle Improvement Program (FLIP)—is only a part of the non-varsity athletics offerings at Dartmouth. Thirty-three intramural sports serve more than 6,000 men and women, including faculty, staff, and graduate students.

Then there are the club sports. There are currently 28 club teams; best-known among the 13 club teams that compete on the intercollegiate level are men's and women's rugby, and the defending national champion figure skating team. From badminton and boxing to water polo and wrestling)—with cricket, kendo and ultimate Frisbee in between)—the club sports program is the option for students with interest in sports not among the 34 varsity offerings at Dartmouth.

Last year, expenses for club sports were about $412,000, a substantial increase from $152,000 in 2000. College support for club teams has also risen from $10,000 in 2000 to more than $61,000 last year-including an infusion of $30,000 from the President's Office and $15,000 in reallocated athletics department funds. That is distributed among club teams, in amounts ranging from $300 to more than $12,000 depending on need and the club's ability to raise funds through other means (friends, endowment, dues, etc.).

Finding the money to support these diverse offerings is one challenge. Facilities, despite all the recent physical improvements, are another. "Facility type and availability is a constraint on all athletic programs at Dartmouth," says Harper.

By JACK DEGANGE

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Last Updated: 5/30/08