Fort Hays State University, Pratt Community College among beneficiaries NEWTOWN, Conn. — Through its Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative (CSSI), the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) awarded $299,200 in grants to 41 colleges and universities in 2011 to develop and expand shooting sports programs. Of those schools receiving assistance, 11 are in the process of developing new shooting clubs. Now in it’s third year, the CSSI program has provided nearly $600,000 to foster collegiate shooting programs. In that time, CSSI grant-supported programs have helped double participation at the Intercollegiate Clay Target Championships. The 2011 championships featured 439 students representing 50 schools.
Schools of all size received awards, from Harvard to the Sunflower State’s Pratt Community College and Fort Hays State University. Fort Hays State University received $5,000 to develop a shooting club ambassador program that has helped recruit students to the school. Pratt Community College received $7,500 to host a Friends of National Rifle Association Banquet and conduct youth shoots to help educate the community about its program and firearms safety. School plans call for attending more collegiate shooting events.
Well established programs such as those at Fort Hays, and even newer programs such as Pratt Community College’s, now serve as models for others interested in developing shooting clubs and varsity teams.
"Throughout the country, we are seeing a surge in college students interested in the shooting sports," said Zach Snow, NSSF's manager of shooting promotions. "These clubs are filling a need on campus by providing opportunities to target shoot, and their members are building positive reputations for the shooting sports both on campus and in surrounding communities."
Sixty-five colleges submitted proposals for CSSI grants, and approximately two-thirds received awards. Grants ranged from $10,000, an amount given mainly to schools whose programs are in the development stage, to smaller amounts for schools with established programs. Many schools have had success attracting members using introductory seminars such as NSSF's First Shots and social media sites such as Facebook.
Anyone interested in starting or strengthening a college shotgun, rifle, or pistol team or club can find resources and grant opportunities online at www.nssf.org/college.