YSU Student Looking to Start Self-Defense Club

By Courtney Hibler 

Club sports at Youngstown State University include a variety of teams and competition, but is lacking one club in particular: self-defense.

Lawrence McCaskill, a sophomore computer science major, is interested in starting a self-defense club at YSU.

McCaskill said he thought of starting the club because of the recent rape reported on campus.

“I don’t like the feeling of someone being taken advantage of because they don’t have the right tools to maintain their own safety,” McCaskill said.

Richard Benge, a senior exercise science major, said he supports McCaskill and any attempt to start a student organization or club sport on campus.

“I believe these organizations and clubs have a positive impact on the YSU community,” Benge said. “If there is a demand for a club, we should welcome it.”

McCaskill said he plans to use his own skills and apply it to his teaching.

“Not a lot of people know what to look for when it comes to avoiding danger,” he said.

McCaskill said the proper teaching and practice will help people conqueror those dangers they may not have been aware of.

“I will teach through repetition and work it into a discipline of believing in personal readiness,” he said.

Kayli Ezzo, graduate assistant of club sports and camps, said registered YSU students are able to participate in club sports as long as they have a good academic standing with the university.

“Officers, on the other hand, are expected to be full-time or full-time equivalent per university policy,” Ezzo said.

Benge has been involved with the YSU Ice Hockey Club for two years and has served as vice president and safety officer.

He said club officers are the ones responsible for running the club and are in charge of recruiting, marketing, fundraising, budgeting and more.

Before Benge was with the YSU Ice Hockey Club, he attempted to start a billiards club of his own on campus, but said it was difficult to gain support.

“It takes a lot of effort to get a club sport started and running,” he said. “It takes even more effort to make a club successful.”

When having a club sport organization, Ezzo said members must commit to having two fundraising events as well as 10 community service hours per academic year.

“Fundraising helps clubs save for important expenditures while community service affords an opportunity for our members to give back to the Youngstown community,” she said.

Club sports are designed for competition against external opponents, and Ezzo said this is what makes club sports different from student organizations.

“The stated [goals] of club sports must include intercollegiate competing while student organizations only compete against other YSU students,” she said.

Ezzo said club sports have a strong and positive environment with goals, peers learning from one another and the expansion of personal boundaries and skills.

“It’s wonderful to see a dedicated culture fostered by our participants,” she said. “It’s not always easy, but the rewards outweigh the struggles when members give their all.”

Those interested in starting a club sport may submit an application to the Club Sports Office in the Andrews Recreation and Wellness Center for consideration.