Where there’s rugby; there’s soccer. Where there’s soccer; there’s quidditch. And with the space on the allotted recreational fields, these club sports don’t seem to be coexisting harmoniously, according to former USG President Matt Graham.
Members of club sports like men’s and women’s rugby, ultimate frisbee, soccer and quidditch are voicing their concerns: that the current space for recreational sports on campus cannot support the amount of traffic from club teams, campus recreation events or students who just want to plain ‘throw the ball around’. Club teams are often compromising their sport’s field dimensions just to keep soccer balls from rolling into rugby end zones. Graham has spearheaded the issue of insufficient field space over the past month through petitions, rallies and lobbying, which has helped the field space issue pick up steam within the University.
“From my observation, clubs have been having a hard time getting the necessary space and time on the fields,” said Graham. “And it’s a disservice to students, who come here expecting to be able to participate in those kind of activities.”
The women’s lacrosse team, which once had its own field, has been forced to move into the corner of the softball field for practices after the South Parking Lot expanded to cover what used to be their space. Sometimes they’re forced to play while the softball team is practicing as well. “It’s kind of dangerous,” said team captain Andi Burrows.
About 2,600 students signed Graham’s petition, which he distributed earlier this semester.
The petition has drawn the attention from the Undergraduate Student Government Senate, which passed a resolution supporting the students’ request for more field space on October 13. The document points out that “other universities of comparable size to Stony Brook University are able to provide their students with more total recreation field space” and that “access to recreation fields augments student life by allowing student groups to partake in competitive activities, creating relationships and building camaraderie.”
“I think this is a fairly important issue,” said USG President Mark Maloof, who was also at the rally. “We fund a lot of these clubs,” he said of the teams who were protesting around him.
The insufficient amount of outdoor space also hampers indoor recreational activities, according to Graham.
“[Campus Recreation] always puts on awesome activities and I’m sure they could be doing much more if they had more space,” said Graham. “Right now, if they want to put on a soccer game, they’ll have to go inside the [Stony Brook] Arena to do that—and then they take away the basketball courts.”
As far as solutions, Graham nods to the Three Village Patch fields, which are adjacent to the South P lot. Unfortunately, the local government charges for the use of these 15 acre fields.
For now, Graham will lobby Vice President of Student Life Peter Baigent and Vice President of Facilities Barbara Chernow to expand field space access. “It’s hard to say [how they’ll react], but at least they’ve been sympathetic,” said Graham.