University archery club sees increase in female members

Natalie Sullivan

Watching Jennifer Lawrence shoot a bow and arrow in “The Hunger Games” inspired management information systems senior Vaishnavi Narayanan to pursue archery.

“I always wanted to do archery, especially after seeing ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Brave,’” Narayanan said. “When I saw [Katniss] on screen, it was like, ‘Hey, I could do that.’”

Narayanan is one of a growing number of girls who have become members of the University’s archery club, which was previously dominated by male members. According to Hannah Jane DeCiutiis, journalism junior and club president, the club has seen an increase in the number of members, particularly girls, over the past few years.

DeCiutiis said she attributes this growth partly to the increase in movies featuring female archers.

“The influx of new archers due to the Olympics last summer, ‘The Hunger Games,’ ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Brave,’ ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Arrow,’ has been overwhelming,” DeCiutiis said. “When I joined, the club was a bit of a boys’ club, and it was a lot of engineering students. Lately we have been seeing a larger number of girls who show up at the beginning of the semester and a wider range of students in other majors.”

Nikki Seymour, geological sciences graduate student and club vice president, said the club’s goal is not only to attract new members, but also to keep them involved in the club.

“I think that retention of our new members is more important than their initial interest in the club,” Seymour said. “Hollywood won’t keep making archery movies, but if we can retain and cultivate an interest in the girls that come out to the range now, they can spread the word and keep girls involved in archery.”

Seymour said the club’s tight-knit nature also helps increase member retention rates.

“We provide new archers with all the equipment they need to start shooting immediately, which reduces the cost of entry,” Seymour said “Our veteran members are welcoming, so there is a support network and community in place to help build a sense of engagement and involvement for
new members.”

Narayanan said seeing more girls participating in archery encouraged her to keep coming to practices.

“This year especially, I think there were a lot more girls, which was good because it encouraged me to continue,” Narayanan said. “When I first came in, I saw a lot of guys, so having that group of girls there reassured me that I wasn’t the odd one out.”

Correction: This article has been updated since its original posting. Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this story misstated the club president's name. It is Hannah Jane DeCiutiis.