U Students Take to the Sky

While some students keep their feet on the ground, others jump from airplanes at about 3,500 ft.

The U’s Skydiving Club was approved in June and is the first skydiving club at a university in the state of Utah.

Jessica Maviano, a junior in therapeutic recreation, founded the Skydiving Club. She said the goal of the club is to get more students addicted to the adrenaline rush of skydiving.

“I want to make skydiving more affordable for students,” she said. “I want to show that skydiving is a sport and accessible.”

Maviano said she has completed over 150 jumps since she first started skydiving in August of 2013.

“The first time I jumped in tandem, I was excited and absolutely terrified,” she said. “But the first time I solo jumped, it was a lot more serious. I was concentrating on everything I learned, and when my parachute finally opened it was just a huge sigh of relief.”

Even with her jumping experience, Maviano said she still gets nervous.

“I don’t get scared like I did the first time, but the anxiety is still there,” Maviano said. “When I try a new technique or skill I think about it the whole time I’m in the plane — like a football player going over plays for the game. I run through the entire process, from the jump to the landing.”

After joining the skydiving club, members jump with a professional twice before starting the solo jumping process. Jumpers must take a series of classes through an organization called Assisted Free Fall. Classes teach the procedures and dangers of the sport. Once the classes are completed, members begin solo jumping alongside instructors.

Maviano said the Skydiving Club is more than the activity itself — it is also an opportunity to make friends.

“Everyone is so excited to be there, and it’s such a fun social activity,” she said. “We watch our videos from every person’s jump and we look at the pictures. It’s fun to just hang out with everyone.”

Whitnee Stebbins, a junior in strategic communications, has been skydiving before and said she thinks the club is a great thing to offer to students.

“I would absolutely join,” Stebbins said. “I think that is awesome to have a club.”

Stebbins said she doesn’t think the fear of skydiving should stop potential members.

“I feel like the people that join the club are willing to accept any risks that go along with skydiving,” Stebbins said.

The end goal of the club, Maviano said, is to attract more members and create a community.

“I want to build a team at the U and compete at the college level,” she said. “There is no other skydiving team in Utah, and having a competition team would be the coolest thing ever.”

The first event, tandem skydiving, will be held Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. at Skydive Utah. Students can bring their UCard and pay a discounted rate of $159 for the activity. Interested students should contact Jessica Maviano at [email protected]

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@JulianneSkrivan