Rutgers Olympic Weightlifting Club teaches students proper lifting techniques
Students are lifting their weight with a club-training program offered on campus.
Rutgers has offered an Olympic Weightlifting Club to students, alumni and faculty on campus for several years now. The purpose of the club is to teach members how to properly perform lifting techniques and exercises.
“We (want) to help others get better," said Aaron Lin, a Rutgers Business School junior and the club's vice president.
Lin has been lifting for five years now, dating back to his days in high school, and said he wanted to continue to do so during his time at Rutgers.
He has been with the club since his first year and credits the philosophy of the club for why he stuck around so long.
“There were people (here) with the same sense of training that I was looking for,” he said. “It was a very friendly environment.”
Lin was promoted to handle the vice president's duties last semester and oversees a variety of tasks for the club. He focuses on how to recruit more members and is currently trying to get sponsorship from his former gym, Pivotal Training, to help fund the club.
“Rutgers has to approach the gym with their message,” he said.
More funds for the club would allow for more competitive events to take place for their members, Lin said. But he said Rutgers typically only provides the funds, when possible, to cover all or partial expenses for club competitions.
One of Lin's main focuses has been the attempt to get in touch with Olympic weightlifter Vasiliy Polovnikov. He would like to have Polovnikov attend one of their training sessions because he believes it would help with promotion and recruitment.
“He’s a world-renowned weightlifter,” he said. “It’d be great.”
The club opens it doors to anyone who is interested in serious weightlifting or simply anyone who wants to workout. But the club does have other goals as it moves forward.
One of the main goals is to have members “actively participate” in competitions, said Sean Wukitsch, club treasurer and a Rutgers Business School sophomore.
“We want (our) members to actually compete," Wukitsch said.
Wukitsch is responsible for tracking and handling the club’s membership fees. He also oversees merchandise sales, which mostly consist of T-shirt sales.
He has been with the club for two years now, but this is his first year as a board member. He credits the availability of the club as a reason for choosing to go to Rutgers.
“My friend, who had been going here, told me about the club,” he said. “It (was) one of the things (that) made me want to go to Rutgers.”
Wukitsch and Lin are working on new ways of encouraging current and new members to compete in a series of events, including nationals in the upcoming year, he said.
“It’s something Aaron and I are working with the school to promote and motivate members,” he said. “We (want) to make sure our members are ready for competitions."
The club's wide variety of weightlifters allows the club to become better, Lin said.
“There are people (here) that have never been in a gym before and some that have experience,” he said.
Elle Rubner, former club president and a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said Lin and Wukitsch have approached the club well.
“We were brainstorming over the summer on how to make (the) club better for (our) members,” she said. “There’s a lot of people that want to compete at nationals.”
Accomplishing the goal of competing at nationals and maybe at the world level, would be something that puts the club "on the map,” she said.
Rubner was a previous weightlifter and said she joined because she wanted to learn new techniques.
“I was super into it in high school,” she said. “I didn’t know how to do Olympic weightlifting exercises.”
In September, Rubner participated in the Involvement Fair in an effort to recruit members.
“A lot of people signed up,” she said. “There were 100-plus emails to sign up.”
All three agree that the club has been making progress, and they want to continue with recruitment.
"We want to provide a competitive but also chill atmosphere for the club,” Rubner said.