Esprit de Corps Cultivated through Volleyball at UC Clermont


One thing most collegiate students can agree on is that it can be difficult to find time for necessities such as exercise. After a long day of classes, many college students (commuters in particular) don’t have the opportunity to engage in physical activity, which is an important component of college life. However, with weekly volleyball games in the UC Clermont Student Activities Center, exercise is enjoyable! Dr. David Fankhauser, professor of biology and chemistry, hopes to promote camaraderie among UC Clermont students, alumni, faculty, and professors alike through mood-boosting volleyball each Friday, held from 2:30-4:00 pm.

While volleyball is ultimately a great way to promote fellowship, it provides a vast array of other benefits as well. Dr. Fankhauser explained a few of these in an interview regarding the program, including the following: improvement of cardiovascular health, stimulation of brain activity, and an increase in endorphin levels, just to name a few of the physical advantages. Other benefits include contributing to the cohesive, supportive environment of the college, and simply the delight of celebrating a Friday afternoon with your college community.

Dr. Fankhauser himself has fond memories of volleyball. He attended Earlham College, a small liberal arts college in Richmond, Indiana, where he’d play volleyball in his free time. He took his love of volleyball with him to UC Clermont, where he began the “TGIF Volleyball” program in 1973. When the program initially began, a volleyball net was strung between two black locust trees, and UC Clermont groups would play outdoors.

TGIF Volleyball photographs were taken by Danny Kidd, UC Clermont’s photographer.Now, the weekly volleyball games take place in the Student Activities Center. Dr. Fankhauser recognizes the need for physical activity in college and the need for community-building, both of which he has achieved through volleyball at UC Clermont. “The college desperately needs activities that people get involved in,” he says.

Community-building is especially important at commuter colleges such as UC Clermont, where students often arrive right before their classes and leave immediately after. “I love teaching here because of the personal relationships I have with my students,” states Dr. Fankhauser, who has spent many years building relationships at UC Clermont. Although UC Clermont is a commuter college, amity is possible, as exemplified by Dr. Fankhauser. In order to achieve this, you have to make a conscientious effort to build relationships with those around you, and volleyball is a great outlet to do just that.

Esprit de corps—the spirit of the community or group—is a concept that Dr. Fankauser would like to see increasingly cultivated at UC Clermont. Weekly volleyball helps to encourage this environment of companionship with fellow students, friends, and professors. “We emphasize that it’s for the joy of it,” Dr. Fankhauser said in respect to the motivation behind TGIF Volleyball. If you would like to catch some of your own “esprit de corps,” join UC Clermont this Friday for a relaxing game of volleyball!

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