12 February 2019
A new club is in the works at UCCS and may be available to students in the near future.
Andrea Poliakon, a UCCS senior studying biomedical science, and Gage Dean, a sophomore studying biology, are planning on creating a scuba club at UCCS, in collaboration with three other students. The plans are still in the first stages, but the students are hoping to get their diving certifications in the next few months.
“We’re not certified,” Poliakon said. “We’ve done Try Scuba (an introductory scuba course), just to get a feel for it, but the certification process in actually a lot more in depth than that so that’s why we are trying to get started.”
The five team members are planning on going to two scuba classes locally this month and then the final certification dive during spring break in Utah. The first two classes are able to be done in a pool, but the final dive must be done in open water in order to earn a certification.
In terms of the club, Poliakon, Dean and the others are hoping that they will be able to offer certification courses for students in partnership with the UCCS Recreation and Wellness Center.
According to Poliakon, “There’s risks associated with scuba diving, so we might be partnering with the S.O.L.E Center in the future so then we can have student-led trips. Up until then, we will be going with Underwater Connection, because they are certified professionals, so we would go under their liability and be in good hands.”
Underwater Connection is a scuba diving company in Colorado Springs that will be able to assist the club in the beginning phases.
Dean explained that their idea to start the club came from their past trials with it. “When I was way younger, I did a Try Scuba program with one of my friends, and it always gives me the excitement to go actual scuba diving and get certified. It kind of brought us the idea to make a club here.”
Knowing the option is available at many other universities as either an elective course or club also brought Poliakon and Dean the idea to create the same opportunity here at UCCS.
“We actually just got our mountain lion connect portal approved so we are just trying to get funding,” said Poliakon. For this crucial step in the club-starting process, the group plans on going to the UCCS Student Government Association (SGA) soon to assist them in the financial aspect of the club.
“It’s kind of tough to be certified because it is so expensive, and through student government with the $3,000 cap, there’s only a certain amount of members that can get certified per semester. Given all the officers will be certified, I think that gives a lot of flexibility to work with the S.O.L.E Center, so then we can have more student-led trips and not have to go with the company.”
When the club is available to students, there will be a $100 club fee. There is also the option to do a scuba trial at Underwater Connection for $35.
“That is potentially something else we can do in the future is maybe taking a group of students there for the Try Scuba with some of our membership dues that everyone will have paid,” said Poliakon. “We may be planning trips like that as well.”