‘Rent-a-Rower’ program helps students in and out of the water

GVL Archive 
A rower gathers some oars befora a race. Through rent-a-rower, indviduals can rent an athlete hourly for odd jobs needed around the house. These jobs can include anything from yardwork to painting.

GVL Archives

GVL Archive A rower gathers some oars befora a race. Through rent-a-rower, indviduals can “rent” an athlete hourly for odd jobs needed around the house. These jobs can include anything from yardwork to painting.

Kyle McMillen

The Grand Valley State University club rowing team has been generating attention in recent years because of its work in the water.

However, it is the team’s work out of the water that is bringing a lot of local attention to the Lakers this season.

The team’s Rent-a-Rower program allows people from the community “rent out” team members for different services in order to make money for new boats and other costs the rowing club incurs, including individual athletes’ dues. The Rent-A-Rower program has turned into a large fundraising expedition for the club.

“I have worked through the Rent-a-Rower program over 20 times since joining the rowing club,” said Alese Garstick, varsity rower. “Rent-a-Rower has paid for all but one of my semesters of rowing.”

One of the main outlooks for the Rent-a-Rower program, other than the financial aspect, is the outreach to the community. It not only helps out those members of the community with the help that they need, but it also raises awareness of the rowing program at GVSU.

“It helps spread the word about the team, and I notice more fans at the races we have here at Grand Valley,” Garstick said.

This increased community awareness helps to not only bring in fans, but also makes repeat customers of the Rent-A-Rower program.

Since the program is not limited to a specific period of the rowing season, rowers are able to earn money for their new boats during the season, but continue additional fundraising all year round.

“Many kids have had repeat customers come back each year, and some of those even lead to summer jobs outside of the Rent-a-Rower program,” said head coach John Bancheri, who in his seventh season coaching the team. “A majority of the students that participate in rowing pay for their dues through the Rent-A-Rower program.”

Not only does the program help the rowers financially, but it helps the rowers by strengthening their work ethic when they are back in the water.

“The program teaches the rowers to work for what they want, which is a very valuable lesson,” Bancheri said. “It teaches the kids that you have to work hard for everything, and those that work hard will be the ones that succeed.”

That success, combined with the accomplishments of the team on the water, make the Rent-A-Rower program an important part of GVSU rowing.

“It helps bring a sense of ownership and accomplishment to the rowers,” said rower Marco Benedetti.

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