Starting A College Club

It is only natural for school administrators—and more specifically the school’s risk managers—to have concerns about the school’s liability and questions about insurance. After all, they know practically nothing about skydiving, except that they think it’s dangerous. Education will be the key in bringing the authorities to a comfort level that will allow the college club to move forward. Without going into too much detail, here is what they need to know:

The sport of skydiving is recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration as an “aeronautical activity.” This means that the FAA agrees that skydiving activity has a rightful place on municipal airports and in the national airspace system. In fact, the FAA has established specific regulations for skydiving, which are contained in Part 105 of Title 14 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR 105).

For several decades now, the FAA has relied upon the U.S. Parachute Association to set the standards for safety of skydiving. USPA establishes skydiving’s safety standards with its Basic Safety Requirements, which address everything from the size of the landing area to wind conditions to training and equipment requirements for skydiving students.

College students who want to skydive can easily find a way to do so on their own. Offering the opportunity through a college skydiving club ensures that they benefit from all of USPA’s programs and training standards. It also provides oversight opportunities to school administrators, who can continually monitor club activities and make sure their students enjoy skydiving at an enhanced level of safety. Fifteen colleges have found ways to support active college skydiving clubs, some for years, and many more clubs are in the making. Here is a recent article about one such club: A Different Kind of Elective

Club Waiver
It may be helpful to present school administrators with the club’s own hold-harmless agreement (more generally known as a waiver). Be prepared to allow the school to have it reviewed by the school’s lawyers and/or risk managers, and be ready to make changes to the document as a result of their review. You can start with a model provided here.
Club Constitution
Your club will probably need a constitution, which states the club’s purpose and how the club will elect officers and make decisions. Again, it may need review by the administration, which may request certain changes. Download a model constitution.