Rowing for Charity

Row, row, row your boat for a cause.

GENEVA, NY – With a roster of over 50 students, the William Smith Crew team is the largest William Smith athletics team on campus. Each consecutive year, WSC participates a community service fundraising project and has donated over $37,500 to different organizations in the Geneva Community.

Launched in 2003, William Smith Rowing created Row for Humanity,that pairs the team with the local community.

Today, the title has changed to Row for Community.


WSC 2014-15′ roster

Every year, members of the team including rowers, coxswains, and coaches receive donations for Row for Community from their friends and family. The members then row for one hour on an indoor rowing machine (erg).

Head coach of William Smith rowing, Sandra Chu comments on the distribution process, “Award decisions are based on, but not limited to, the long-term impact of the project, number of individuals impacted, and/or the depth to which individuals are affected.”

Senior Eliza Orrick comments, “It gives others a chance to see how hard we work. I ask friends and family, especially old rowing coaches for donations.”


1V Launching at NCAA’s 2014

Where do the donations distribute?

The WSC team has formed a community engagement committee that distributes $1,500 up to $3,000  to local organizations. These donations range from small: $1-$150 and large: $151-$1,500.

Ten percent of the profits raised distribute to the Geneva community.

Chu explains,”Site visits may be required depending on the competitiveness of the pool. In the past, our committee has also been drawn to proposals which impact the youth of our community, though engagement with youth is not a requirement for application or award.”

In the past the team has supported Safe Harbors, Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County, the Domestic Violence Victims Assistance Program of Family Counseling Service of the Finger Lakes, and the Geneva General Child Care Program.

“It’s a great chance to give back to the community” Orrick explains.

She continues, “The money is for a cause and it’s reassuring to know people are benefiting for a simple thing we do.”

Row for Community first began on the Kansas State campus in 1997. Since then, Chu has implemented the program on the HWS campus.

Other rowing coaches have done the same–the program is now used across the country as a rowing based fundraiser.

Simply put by Orrick, “An hour on the erg? I’ll take it to help another person.”

Supporrp_primary_Row_For_Communityt the William Smith Crew team Row for the Community Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 7AM-7PM in the Bristol Field House.



Studies Writing & Rhetoric and Media & Society at Hobart and William Smith Colleges 15', William Smith Rowing, from Clifton Park N.Y; Section editor.