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December 21, 2010

38 Colleges Receive NSSF Grants To Build Shooting Programs


The National Shooting Sports Foundation has awarded 38 grants—a record number—totaling $190,000 to help both new and existing collegiate target shooting programs flourish.

Only two years old, NSSF’s Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative has helped establish competition and club shooting opportunities at colleges across the country—from Harvard to Clemson and the University of Vermont to Montana Tech. This latest round of grants will support programs in 36 schools.

“It’s gratifying to see collegiate shooting and the Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative growing at such a fast rate,” said Zach Snow, NSSF’s manager of shooting promotions. “That tells us NSSF is on the right track in providing funding that makes it possible for men and women to continue target shooting during their college years.”

Following are several Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative success stories:

The Clemson University Shotgun Club was founded four years ago by a small group that enjoyed getting together to target shoot. Today the club has more than 95 registered members and a website and puts on “fun shoots” and learn-about-us barbecues. Demand for shooting sports education at the school—Clemson offers for-credit “shotgun sports” classes—has led to construction of three world-class trap/skeet fields and a 100-yard rifle range. “I know that without support from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and an overwhelming sense of pride by the club’s members, we would not be where we are today,” said student organizer Wake Fickey, who as a high school student competed in the NSSF-developed Scholastic Clay Target Program and now has helped his university build a premier program.

New England has become a hotbed of collegiate target shooting. There are growing programs at Harvard, Harvard Law, Tufts, Northeastern, MIT, Yale and Brown. The New England Collegiate Clay Target Championships are an exciting highlight to the season.

New programs debuted this fall at Stetson College and Colby College. Formed with encouragement from the Flagler Gun Club plus the school’s athletic director and several enthusiastic students, Stetson now has 40 students participating, about half on the varsity team and half at the club level. “We like having these young men and women at the club,” said Tom Wolfe, a Flagler Gun Club official. “Our members, who are largely older, say these students have brought a terrific spirit to the club.” Stetson, located in Deland, Fla., wasted no time hosting the area’s first intercollegiate shoot with Jacksonville University, the University of North Florida and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. An eight-to-10-school competition is being planned for March. “This program is contagious, and NSSF is right there providing assistance and intelligent counsel,” Wolfe added.

Stetson’s success is a good example of how gun clubs work with nearby colleges to support their target shooting programs. Flagler Gun Club even created a special low-cost student membership rate so that students could participate at this members-only facility.

NSSF has long supported youth shooting programs for the Boy Scouts of America and 4-H and through the Scholastic Clay Target Program. The Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative works to provide a seamless “next step” for those who want to continue participating in the shooting sports, just as student-athletes do in other sports.

“It’s only natural than students who have enjoyed target shooting in junior high and high school will want to participate and introduce their new friends to the shooting sports at college,” said Snow. “Whether it’s competing in intercollegiate matches or spending an evening with friends at the range, students can enjoy the type of target shooting they’re comfortable with and learn about firearm safety through these programs.”

For assistance on getting a collegiate target shooting program started or for information on applying for a future NSSF grant, visit www.nssf.org/college.