At noon on Monday, Oct. 19, the UMBC crew team began their annual 24-hour ergathon fundraiser, which aimed to show off the club’s work ethic and physical skill, both during the day and late at night when most of the campus is asleep.
The club’s rowers all signed up for half hour shifts to man the breezeway throughout the day. Donations were made out as pledges. These were based on either the amount of shifts the rower covered, or the distance that the rower has rowed.
The shifts were done using an erg machine, an indoor rower that simulates the rowing motion on the boat. Though only one individual at a time was signed up for shifts, it wasn’t unusual to find a handful of crew team members in the breezeway at a time, supporting their fellow rower and reaching out to people for pledges.
The prospect of early rowing shifts is not always a pleasant thought for the rowers, but this sense of unity helps them get through it.
“It’s difficult to feel motivated after getting a few hours of sleep, but knowing my team will be there to accompany during my session with music, encouragement and conversation makes it bearable,” said crew team veteran Daniel Kaas.
This year’s ergathon saw great strides of improvement from last year’s, which only brought in $124 through the day. The 2015 fundraiser managed to bring in over $400 for this year’s crew team, who project that the continued support from pledges following the event could bring in as much as $500 for the club. With team dues looking to be around $150, and new boats costing upwards of $10,000, growing support is an increasingly big deal for UMBC’s early rising club.
The increased profit from the fundraiser is only a symptom of the fact that the crew team is trying to grow and improve.
“A bigger team and new leadership played a role [on the fundraiser’s success]. Also, a bigger team lightens the load on everyone,” said George Ly, the crew team secretary.
As the crew team grows and veterans and new members both develop new experience, the team knows that they all have one another’s support to help take the next step forward.