The Student Association's newest club made history Wednesday at 1 p.m., when UB Skydivers gave students something to cheer about during muggy mid-week conditions.
For the first time in university history, skydivers landed on campus grounds. Four club members displayed their unique passion and skill by leaping from 5,000 feet in the air.
Licensed skydiver and club president Jason Berger, a senior media studies major, was the first of the parachuters to land when he returned to sea level beside the University Bookstore.
"It was extremely exciting for us to be able to land on home turf for the first time," Berger said. "We are hoping this will generate a lot of student interest."
Joining Berger on Wednesday were Ben Sporn, a senior civil engineering major, and UB alumni Jeff Grifith and Henry Szczpamski.
Sporn is the club treasurer and also a licensed skydiver who will jump alongside tandem students on fun jumps. He stressed that having experience in the sky isn't important to join the club.
"UB Skydiving is a great club because it can provide interested students with an easy way to find out more about the world of skydiving," Sporn said. "Students will be able to use our club to learn about human flight, make their first tandem skydive or become a fully licensed skydiver."
Jonathon Geldard, a senior environmental engineering major, is the vice president of UB skydivers. He spent the inaugural jump announcing the historical event to a gathering of students around the hill next to the bookstore. Unlike the experienced Sporn and Berger, Geldard's first jump was last semester.
Frontier Skydivers, located in Wilson, NY, will be the home dropzone for the UB Skydiving club. Both Berger and Sporn will jump multiple times a week, but hope the club itself can drive members to Wilson at least once a week to the dropzone.
"The more we can generate people and help, the more we can give everyone what they want," Berger said. "Skydiving is not a cheap sport at all. The cost of a jump is $225, but if you join the club we cannot guarantee a price for your jump(s). It is going to be a group effort in fundraising, community service, donations and socials to bring the price down."
The leaders of UB Skydiving are attempting to make the hobby more affordable for students with limited funds. Club officers are currently working with Frontier Skydivers to give club members a special student rate if they jump with the club.
The club will also raffle off one free skydive this semester. Last semester, the club presented Alyssa Kraatz, a sophomore business major, with a free jump for all of her hard work and dedication to the club.
Though most activities take place off campus, UB Skydivers are simultaneously trying to build a presence on campus. According to Geldard, the club would like to work with other clubs on campus to provide fun events for students.
"We are thinking of bringing in a wind tunnel for students, which is simulated skydiving," Geldard said. "Students would be able to experience the thrill of flying and free falling, and that would be awesome."
Sporn and Berger will represent the university and UB Skydiving in the United States Parachute Association's National Collegiate Parachuting Championships on Dec. 26th in Eloy, AZ. The premier event features various categories of skydiving styles. Berger and Sporn plan to compete in multiple events.
The UB Skydivers meet every Monday at 5 p.m., in Knox 109.