NSSF is making an impact as new and existing shooting sports programs grow at colleges across the country.
NEWTOWN, Conn –-(Ammoland.com)- Through its Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative (CSSI), the National Shooting Sports Foundation has awarded $299,200 in grants to 41 colleges and universities to assist in the development and expansion of shooting sports programs.
Of those schools receiving assistance, 11 are in the process of developing new shooting clubs.
NSSF, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, has been supporting collegiate shooting programs with grants and expertise for three years with the CSSI program. In that time, NSSF has provided a total of nearly $600,000 to foster collegiate shooting programs.
“Throughout the country, we are seeing a surge in college students interested in the shooting sports,” said Zach Snow, NSSF's manager of shooting promotions. “These clubs are filling a need on campus by providing opportunities to target shoot, and their members are building positive reputations for the shooting sports both on campus and in surrounding communities.”
Grants ranged from $10,000, an amount given mainly to schools whose programs are in the development stage, to smaller amounts to schools with established programs. Many schools have had success attracting members using introductory seminars such as NSSF's First Shots and social media sites such as Facebook.
Schools receiving awards included well-known Harvard U., Harvard Law, Yale and MIT; state universities such as Vermont, Kentucky and Iowa; and smaller schools such as Ecclesia College of Springdale, Ark., Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College of Tifton, Ga., and Hillsdale College of Hillsdale, Mich. One school, Montgomery Community College of Troy, N.C., in addition to developing a shooting program, offers gunsmithing and hunting and shooting sports management programs.
“Student organizers have been creative in their outreach. They know how to reach and motivate their fellow students to attend seminars and practices,” said Snow.
By volunteering their time at local shooting ranges and at community events such as food and clothing drives, students build support and a better understanding for their clubs and the shooting sports. “They want people who are uncertain about shooting to understand that the students involved are safe and responsible,” said Snow.
Schools with established programs are now serving as models for others interested in developing shooting clubs and varsity teams. Widespread interest prompted NSSF to develop its “How to Start a Club” resource guide. The document is filled with helpful advice on starting both competitive teams and recreational shooting clubs, and includes samples of membership forms and club bylaws.
There are many success stories related to CSSI grants, as these statements reveal:
Blaine Morgan of Radford University: “The NSSF grant has redefined the shooting experience and the entire community here at Radford. We have tripled the size of our team. Our members are outgoing and proudly represent the shooting sports. We are extremely grateful to the NSSF. We could not have done it without their generosity.”
Colin Smith of Yale Pistol Club: “We are absolutely seeing an increased interest on campus for the shooting sports. When recruiting for the pistol and rifle teams, we had more interest than we could accommodate.”
Martin Bye of Northeastern University: “I get emails almost every day from people interested in joining our team. They see our members around campus or on the website we created. We are truly becoming a well-established and well-known club sport.”
David Dobson of Jacksonville University: “Without the NSSF-CSSI program, the JU, University of North Florida, Stetson and University of Florida programs would not be where they are today. These grants are making THE difference for us in Florida.”
Even schools with small memberships field competitive teams because participation in national championships helps build awareness of their program. CSSI grant-supported programs have helped double participation at the ACUI Intercollegiate Clay Target Championship over the last three years. The 2011 championships featured 439 students representing 50 schools.
A total of 65 college submitted proposals for NSSF's Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative grants, and approximately two-thirds received awards.
Grants were made to the following schools:
- Harvard Law, Cambridge, Mass., $4,200: About 7.5 percent of the student body (128 students) attended at least one of the shooting club's events. The new grant will increase the number of events and club members.
- Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla., $5,000: Club enrollment has doubled and planning has begun to host a regional collegiate shooting competition in the spring of 2012.
- Yale Pistol Club, New Haven, Conn. $5,000: Club membership is up by more than 100, and the new grant will help increase the club's web and social networking presence, and establish an NRA pistol certification course.
- Washington College, Chestertown, Md., $5,000: Member increased from 7 to 41. New grant funds will enable further growth and attending more competitions.
- Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., $5,000: The club has a following of nearly 600 and receives much positive media coverage. New grants funds will attract more new shooters and help develop a competitive team.
- Clemson Clays, Clemson, S.C., $5,000: The competitive team took a first and second place at the ACUI Intercollegiate Clay Target Championships. The club has 150 members. Funds will provide more opportunities for non-competitive shooters.
- Eastern Central University, Ada, Okla., $5,000: Funds will help the club raise awareness of the shooting sports on campus and host an NSSF First Shots event.
- Yale Skeet and Trap, New Haven, Conn., $5,000: The club plans to host a regional intercollegiate shooting tournament.
- Northeastern University, Boston, Mass., $5,000: The club consists of 99 percent new shooters. New funds will allow the development of both the recreational and competitive segments of membership.
- Clemson University, Clemson, S.C., $5,000: New funds will help attract more students and faculty to the club, purchase equipment and schedule more events on and off campus.
- Stetson University, DeLand, Fl., $5,000: The club was resurrected this year after 30 years. Funds will be used to educate more students, faculty and the community about the shooting sports and firearms safety.
- MIT, Cambridge, Mass., $5,000: A new club hosted 20 practice sessions. More growth is planned for the second year, and plans call for promoting an understanding of shotgun design, engineering and physics.
- Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kan., $5,000: Developed shooting club ambassador program that has helped recruit students to the school.
- SIC, Harrisonburg, Ill., $5,000: The team has conducted clinics for local high school shooters and raised awareness of competitive shooting among the public.
- University of North Florida, Jackson, Fla., $5,000: Funds will help the club grow, attend ACUI Nationals and host intercollegiate shooting events.
- Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Mich., $5,000: The new varsity shotgun team will compete regionally and nationally.
- University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt., $5,000: A freshman club fair produced 84 new members, and the pistol and shotgun team memberships have doubled. The club plans to host Scholastic Clay Target Program and Scholastic Steel Challenge clinics and a hunter education program and provide NRA certification classes.
- University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., $5,000: Four years ago, the shotgun team had 3 members; now the roster is 66 (41 men, 15 women) and is the largest club sports program on campus.
- Mississippi College, Clinton, Miss., $5,000: Because of publicity efforts, more than 30 students signed up to participate in the second year of this program. The sporting clays club is the fastest growing student club on campus. A new website will help spur more growth and awareness.
- Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Fla., $5,000: The school instituted a Wingshooting Theory curriculum with 18 students enrolled. The competition team was Division III National ACUI Champion. Funds will help create four regional collegiate shooting events.
- Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, $7,500: The club's campus awareness events are changing student and faculty views toward firearms and the shooting sports. Funds will help grow the program.
- Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa., $7,500: The club hosted an NSSF First Shots event that was an effective recruiting tool. New funds will help the club grow membership by 20 percent.
- Radford University, Radford, Va., $7,500: An “interest” meeting generated 35 new shooters. The club works to create a positive image through its support of community blood drives, canned food drives and homeless shelters.
- University of Nebraska at Omaha, $7,500: Funds will help team members attend ACUI Nationals and raise its profile on campus.
- Missouri State University, Springfield, Mo., $7,500: Team members help the local gun club with maintenance and upkeep and by volunteering. New funds will help recruit new club and competitive shooters.
- Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $7,500.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla., $7,500: The club has taught some 70 new shooters the basics of safe gun handling in the last two years. Funds will help expand programs from rifle and pistols to skeet and trap.
- Pratt Community College, Pratt, Kan., $7,500: Club hosted a Friends of NRA Banquet and youth shoots to help educate the community about its program and firearms safety. Plans call for attending more collegiate shooting events.
- Texas A&M, College Station, Tex., $7,500: Funds will be used to increase the number of active club members and support a more competitive team.
- Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $7,500: Over the past three years, the club has sponsored 20 introduction-to-shooting clinics, attracting more than 200 persons. Funds will help acquire needed equipment.
- George Mason, Fairfax, Va., $7,500: Funds will help grow the trap and skeet team, add campus events and develop website and social media pages.
- CalState Channel Islands Firearms Safety Club, Camarillo, Calif., $7,500: At this new club, funds will help send qualified shooters to an instructor's course so that new shooters receive proper supervision.
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $10,000: The club will build on its first-year success by growing the team from 10 to 20 members and utilizing campus and local media to build awareness of the team.
- University of Wisconsin Platteville, $10,000: This new group is established as recognized student club with 200 members and a core group of 30 that has taken on leadership roles.
- Presbyterian College, Clinton, S.C., $10,000: In the formation stage, the club has 18 members who are planning introductory events for students and faculty.
- Mississippi State University, $10,000: In the development stage, the club attracted 40 students and faculty to an introductory meeting. The club plans to grow membership and host events that are competitive, recreational and philanthropic.
- Skeet and Trap Club-Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla., $10,000: Funds will help further develop the skeet and trap club and opportunities for new shooters while offsetting costs for practice and competition.
- Montgomery Community College, Troy, N.C., $10,000: Its club is in the development stage; the school offers Gunsmithing and Hunting and Shooting Sports Management programs.
- Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va., $10,000: In the development stages with 45 members, the VMI Marksmanship Club plans to put VMI on the map for shooting sports excellence.
- Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Tifton, Ga., $10,000: Fifty-five students signed the petition to become a chartered club. Funds will help build membership and awareness.
- Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa., $10,000: New club will hold clinics to build membership and explain firearm safety and the various shooting sports. The club plans to sponsor a First Shots seminar.
- University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, $10,000: New club started this fall with 10 active members. Goals are to grow membership and compete both in-state and in Big Ten and Big 12 shooting competitions.
- Ecclesia College, Springdale, Ark., $10,000: New club with 14 members plans to compete in area/regional collegiate shotgun events and the ACUI Nationals. Plans are also to work with the state game and fish agency in volunteer efforts.
Anyone interested in starting or strengthening a college shotgun, rifle or pistol team or club can find resources and grant opportunities at www.nssf.org/college.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 6,800 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.