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WARA celebrates 100th anniversary of women in sports

Chloe Burdette

Sports Editor

The Women’s Athletic and Recreation Association (WARA) is an organization on campus that is devoted to recognizing women athletes and providing information on women’s sports to the community. The association promotes gender equality and encourages leadership through the unity of female athletes. In the words of Vice President Tongtong Wu ’21, WARA is “an organization that promotes women’s athletic and recreational participation as women varsity athletics came into existence at The College of Wooster.” Wu further elaborated that, “WARA has been promoting gender equality in sports participation over the years through supporting women’s teams on campus through social activities and financial support.”

This past week, WARA celebrated the 100th anniversary of the addition of women’s sports teams to The College of Wooster, with events led by participating female athletes at the College. Events such as all-campus yoga, a women in sports-themed panel and readings held at local elementary schools filled the week to celebrate National Women in Sports Day on Wednesday, Feb. 6. 

The art wall in Lowry Center was decorated by WARA with many newspaper snippets and pictures from archives that showcased the many empowering female figures who ultimately revolutionized female participation in sports at the College. These figures are recognized because of their effort to ultimately give women a voice in athletics and physical education. The wall also included a timeline of how women’s sports have changed throughout the years, and the impact that Wooster’s women athletics has had on many players in varsity sports. “Participating in sports, especially in college, has helped me realize even greater potential through my friendships, intensified work ethic and community responsibility,” Emily Stoehr ’20 stated on an art wall graphic. “As an athlete, we represent ourselves, our team and our school everywhere we go. Athletics guides individuals to be better people not only in the confines of our sport, but for the greater community,” she stated. “Without athletics, I would not have as great of a grasp on community, leadership and teamwork as I do now.”

Today, many female athletes from each varsity sport are representatives of WARA, and work together to bring awareness to potential problems regarding women’s athletics. Kera Sells ’21, secretary of WARA, notes that members of the organization will work to contact whoever is needed in order to solve a problem regarding a female athlete. “We are the voice of all women teams for bigger issues, like problems with locker rooms, training equipment and more,” she explained. “We take any concerns our teammates may have and get people to look into those issues for better athletic conditions, if they need them.” 

Sells also stated that she encourages more involvement and awareness of WARA on campus. “A lot of women athletes are involved in this organization, and we’ve definitely grown in numbers over the past few years. But I’d still say we aren’t as known as other organizations such as the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, which is all athletics,” said Sells. “We are trying our best to show support for all women’s teams and extend an invitation to the men’s teams on campus as well.” 

The group fundraises throughout the school year to sponsor teams on campus to improve equipment or expenses for spring break trips. Events that raise money include social gatherings with food like ice cream and pizza parties held occasionally in Lowry. These events encourage people of all genders to come and support WARA. WARA has also previously raised money through concessions in the Scot Center.

Overall, the organization has had a positive impact on female athletes at Wooster to find their home. Katie Harvey ’21, an active member of WARA, expresses her gratitude for the organization. “WARA is a support system that has helped me personally to find a community of other female athletes,” Harvey said. “I have found that oftentimes we are facing similar struggles, whether that be with balancing academics and sports or finding ways for our voices to be heard, and WARA is somewhere for us to come together to have those important conversations.”

This Saturday, WARA wraps up National Girls and Women in Sports Week by encouraging students to support our very own College of Wooster Fighting Scots women’s basketball team as they play the Wittenberg University Tigers on Saturday, Feb. 9. 

(Photo by Chloe Burdette)

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