Cedarville University Student Marksmen (Chi Sigma Mu) 100+ students strong and growing
by Chad D. Baus
Cedarville University Student Marksmen, also known as Chi Sigma Mu, new to the Cedarville, Ohio campus, already boasts more than 100 student members.
After an NRA University meeting last semester, club advisor Sandy Yoder stated that they were told by the NRA that it had been one of the largest meetings to date.
Yoder says that the members of Chi Sigma Mu would like to be an encouragement to others that the shooting sports are not dying among today's youth.
Following are three recent press releases covering the groups success in its first year on campus.
Start of the Year/Looking Back
Chi Sigma Mu's first semester is in the books. Having hosted three nights at the range, the club's inaugural year is in full swing. The club can be found on alternating weeks at Miami Valley Shooting Grounds in Springfield,OH.
Once action for the evening begins, a crowd gathers around the small windows to watch as their peers tape up their targets, load their bullets and begin pulling the trigger. As students and adults alike shuffle in for their turn at the firing line, one quickly sees the orderly system that allows each attendee their allotted time. No one is rushed and everyone has an enjoyable time.
"I saw a lot of people who were first time shooters, who couldn't hit the paper when they started," said Vernon Yoder, one of the advisers to the student organization. "They were hitting close to bull's-eyes when they quit. That's fun to see."
On the first range night alone, 60 students came to enjoy the training, fellowship, training and range time. At the end of the evening, 3,250 rounds were fired through the club's donated pistols.
"That night I met one student, who had never fired a firearm," said Sandy Yoder, another of the club's advisers. "She'd never even touched one because she was always afraid of them. At the end of the night she told me that this was the most fun she's ever had. She joined the club to get over her fear of firearms."
Yoder said one of the club's main goals was to help such students get over this kind of fear.
Nights like that one occurred throughout the rest of the semester. It's easy to see why students keep coming back.
"A lot of them have fun just socializing," said Vernon Yoder. "It's a very relaxing way to relieve stress. I think a lot of the students realized that on that night."
The club will continue to hold range nights through 2013. Anyone wishing to get involved with the group can contact [email protected].
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Chi Sigma Mu has received a $10,000 grant from the Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative (CSSI). The organization exists as a branch of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a group dedicated to helping collegiate and youth shooting sports programs get started around the country.
"We're very excited about the prospects this grant represents," said Donald Parvin, President of the Board of Directors for the Cedarville Marksmanship Club. "This funding will help get our club set up for success in the long run."
The grant didn't come about on its own though. Parvin and other contributors worked for nearly two and a half months to put the grant application together. After much deliberation and editing, the grant was submitted and the waiting process began.
Before long, word came to the organization that the group had received the grant. Funding from the grant will provide 12 target rifles, 12 target pistols, ammunition, team apparel, team uniforms, targets, cleaning supplies, firearm storage and many other logistical considerations that will help the club get up and running in the long run.
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Thousands of rounds have made their way through the barrels of the Ruger Mark III Standard Rimfire pistols that belong to Chi Sigma Mu, Cedarville University's student marksmanship organization. These pistols see regular use at each of the club's biweekly range shoots. But where did these pistols come from?
With a suggested retail price of $379 each, the guns didn't just land in the laps of those who set out to organize the club. Or did they? An investigation into this question reveals a variety of sources.
Several of the guns were provided through the Cedarville Marksmanship Club's "Donate a Gun" program in which individuals could purchase a pistol for the club at a 30% reduced rate and have their name engraved on
that donated pistol.
"In an effort to make sure that the student organization could get up and running in a timely manner, we on the board of directors felt we had to provide some equipment initially," said Donald Parvin, President of the
Board of Directors for the Cedarville Marksmanship Club. "That's where it started."
Other pistols were donated by complete strangers as a result of a chance conversation in a gun store. Parvin said he was discussing the club's previous donation program with a salesperson there.
"She got very excited and thought this was a marvelous idea," Parvin said. "And she wanted to get involved." The salesperson used points amassed through a Ruger sales program to purchase two guns for the club.
But she wasn't done there. She reached out and challenged her co-workers to donate as well. "They got together as a staff and they ended up donating five guns to us," Parvin said.
From there, donations began to roll in. Ruger as a manufacturer donated five guns. A generous donor gave 20 pistols in hopes of helping to reinvigorate the sport in the next generation. Funds raised at the marksmanship club's Fall Pheasant Hunt raised enough money to purchase an additional gun. A donor at Buckeye Firearms [Foundation] donated a gun. Altogether these donations brought the club's full inventory to 33 pistols.
"We've discovered a basic tent and that is people love to give," said Parvin. "Our original goal was five pistols. We were hoping maybe to get a dozen. To end up with almost 35 pistols, we're just blown away by the
generosity we've been shown."
It's because of these generous donors that Chi Sigma Mu members can enjoy their range nights for many months to come.
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Chi Sigma Mu is a club founded and populated by students from Cedarville University. The student organization is a branch of the Cedarville Marksmanship Club. Chi Sigma Mu was established to enable students to learn the fundamentals of shooting firearms, to improve their shooting skills and to provide competition with other members and groups, all within a safe and educational environment.