UB undergrads now have the chance to experience the ultimate rush of jumping, freefalling and parachuting to Earth with skydiving club.
The goal of this newly formed organization is to educate people on the sport of skydiving as well as explain how safe, fun and affordable it is for students.
Jason Berger, a junior media study major, has assumed the responsibility of club president. As a licensed skydiver, he hopes to spark excitement for the sport around campus.
"We want to give people the chance to experience the greatest thing on Earth," Berger said. "I have jumped at many drop zones in my skydiving career. From New York to Canada, California down to Florida, and dozens of places in between. I currently have over 240 skydives and will jump everyday it's nice out."
There is no level certification that students need to join the skydiving club. In fact, a student doesn't even have to jump to be a part of the club. Members can be active by helping out at events, learning about the sport or accompanying the jumpers on their plane rides.
All members, however, are encouraged to jump.
First-time jumps are all tandem for students trying to get their license. Ben Sporn, a senior applied science and engineering major, is a licensed skydiver that will jump alongside tandem students on fun jumps.
Combined, Sporn and Berger have logged hundreds of dives and have experience in packing, shooting video in freefall, base-jumping and wing-suit flying. For those without any diving experience, members with advanced skill, like Sporn and Berger, will assist novice jumpers to the drop-zone and teach students the knowledge needed to ensure a successful safe dive.
Jonathon Geldard, a junior environmental engineer major and vice president of UB Skydiving Club, has never jumped before but eagerly anticipates his first experience free-falling with the club.
"I can't wait to feel the adrenaline rush. The idea of flying in the sky excited me and I know it will provide perspective in [my life]," Geldard said. "I feel like this club surrounds me with the best resources and avenues to learn in a highly experienced community of divers."
Berger stated that he would like to see the club compete in the United States Parachute Association's National Collegiate Championship in Arizona from Dec. 28 through Jan.1.
"We would really like to represent UB and hopefully win something to get our university's name out there, and also have a great time," Berger said.
Skydivers will compete in different formations and are judged on how many "docks" are completed.
"Divers fly relative to each other to make predetermined formations," Sporn said. "Competitions are all based on judges on the ground and viewing the videos from the air, so each team has to have a videographer."
Frontier skydivers, located in Wilson, NY, will be the home drop zone for the UB Skydiving Club. A normal jump costs $225, but club members can benefit by getting a $25 discount when jumping with the group.
By fundraising and participating actively, members can earn money toward jumps to defray the cost. The more effort a member puts forth, the greater the reward.
UB joins the Universities of Connecticut, Southern California, Florida and Virginia Tech as some of the many schools with skydiving clubs in the country. Club officers have very high expectations for the club and believe it will be permanent by next fall.
For more information join the "University Skydiving Group" on Facebook.