New Heights: Kent State starts Skydiving Club

Hannah Kelley

4,500 feet up in an airplane, nearly a mile.

Inside a tight-packed airplane, anxious people are covered in gear; goggles, jumpsuits, helmets with video-cameras strapped to their heads.

You can see the grasslands, valleys and miniature houses far below.

The doors open, and one by one, people take a deep breath and jump. Bodies seem to blow away like pieces of paper out a car window. They plunge toward the ground, dependent on a parachute that opens at just the right second to make the last few minutes look relaxing.

To those on the ground, they look like ants.

In reality, they are members of the Kent State University Skydiving Club.  

The Skydiving Club takes their jumps at Aerohio, a Skydiving Center in Rittman, Ohio, approximately 40 minutes away from the university.

“In a word, skydiving feels like freedom,” said Matt Burch, a senior flight tech major and co-president of the club. “You’re just there in the moment.”

The club was created this semester by Burch and junior digital media productions major and co-president, Haylee Holt. Both have a passion for skydiving.

“I wanted to meet adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers and there wasn’t one already formed so I created my own,” Holt said. “I feel like a lot of other people would love it too.”

The club now has 10 members but is looking to expand.

Holt is adamant that the club is relaxed and open to anyone, including Kent State students from all campuses, faculty and alumni. Members can jump only once and still consider themselves part of the club.

The club is divided into two teams.

The beginners, led by Holt, will jump tandem once per semester. There are no prerequisites for the beginner’s team. The advanced divers, led by Burch, must have their Accelerated Freefall certification and license. The advanced divers are scheduled to jump weekly, weather permitting.

Beginners will have their first dive on Nov. 19.

Burch is hopeful that Kent State will eventually be able to create a competitive collegiate team to compete at nationals in Arizona.

Competitive skydiving includes formation diving, a style of diving in which teams create formations during freefall.

The club is dedicating this semester to marketing and expanding the group.

“Our goals this year are to be inclusive, to market the organization, to set a foundation since we’re new, and to really just have fun,” Holt said. “That’s what skydiving is about: Excelling in new heights.”

The club invited University President Beverly Warren to Skydive via twitter. Warren plans to dive with the group this spring.

Hannah Kelley is the dean of students and greek life reporter. Contact her at [email protected].