Row, row, row your boat gently to manual labor. At least, that’s what the Western men’s crew team will do to raise funds.
The Rent-A-Rower program is exactly what it sounds like. One can rent members of the team to do any sort of odd job they need done.
Originally an idea started at Washington State University, the program made its way over to the men’s crew team at Western and became their primary way of raising funds last year.
Landscaping, painting and “very mediocre construction” are among the jobs the team has been asked to do, senior crew member Corban McKay said.
“It goes to our general foundation fund. From that fund we buy boat equipment, rowing machines and fund travel expenses.”
Being a club sport on campus means the team is responsible for some of their own funding. The team accepts only donations as payment.
Like any club or sport on campus, the team has expenses that need to be paid. Senior crew member Severn Anderson said the funds received from Rent-A-Rower are a way for the team to pay those.
“It goes to our general foundation fund,” Anderson said. “From that fund we buy boat equipment, rowing machines and fund travel expenses.”
Not only does Rent-A-Rower serve as a way to pay for team needs, it’s also one way to implement team bonding.
“I’ve had some jobs where I just sit there with someone else for four hours pulling weeds,” Anderson said. “It’s hard not to get closer to people doing that.”
So how do people in the community hear about Rent-A-Rower? The team has an option on their website to request to rent a rower. They also pass out flyers when they go on runs, along with replying to Craigslist ads, McKay said.
While the crew team is a club sport at Western, most of the teams they compete against are not. They compete against programs from the University of Washington, who receive funding from various sources such as the school itself or alumni.
“It puts you in a nice comparative mindset with schools more wealthy than us,” Anderson said.
Some of the larger schools they race against receive endowments of over $200,000 every year, senior crew member Jackson Wood said.
“We’re working hard to make sure we have the money,” Wood said. “We’re paying our way through it. Competing up at a high level against crews getting a free pass makes it much more worth it.”
Funding received through Rent-A-Rower financed the team’s trip to nationals last year in Georgia.
Paying their own way is something that the team takes pride in, Anderson said.
“It’s good to feel like you’ve earned your ticket to Georgia or California,” sophomore crew member Mason Starr said.
Along with Rent-A-Rower, the men’s crew team also hosts a golf tournament every spring.
With the fall race season completed, the crew team will be training during winter to prepare for their spring season.