Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Campus Connection: U. of Illinois skydivers fly high

The grids of farmland can be pretty dull, admits University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign student Bradley Schlesinger. But the view is a lot more interesting when falling toward the landscape from an airplane.

“You get to fly over the clouds,” says Schlesinger, a junior architecture student at Illinois and president of the Falling Illini Skydiving Club.

Northwestern does not have a skydiving club, although students have shown interest in pursuing such a venture.

“A lot of people here say they have always wanted to (skydive) but haven’t gotten around to it,” said Weinberg sophomore Jonathan Wood. “Getting a club started would be really good for the school.”

Wood said he would support a skydiving club at NU because the group might be able to receive discounts at local drop zones such as Chicagoland Skydiving Center and Skydive Chicago.

“I think it’s a total rush,” he said. “The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it was expensive.”

Not unlike skydiving, however, the NU Ski and Snowboard Club offers students the chance to fly on the wild side. The club takes hundreds of people on a yearly skiing trip, and students already have begun signing up people for this year’s anticipated expedition to Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado the week after finals.

Although skiing and riding are not always extreme sports, the president of the club, McCormick senior Christopher McCloskey, said the terrain park, which features rails and jumps for snowboarders, remains one of the favorite attractions on club trips.

McCloskey said he takes skiing to an extreme.

“I just like going off cliffs every once in a while,” said McCloskey, who also leads the ski racing team down steep slalom runs as club president.

At Illinois Schlesinger and other members of the Falling Illini carpool out to Archway Skydiving Center every Saturday for the sole purpose of jumping out of a plane.

First-time parachuters attend classes at Archway Skydiving Center and then decide how they want to fly.

Option one, flying tandem, entails being strapped to an experienced jumper. The second option, called a static jump, allows students to fly alone and puts them on the faster track to getting a license.

Eventually, all Falling Illini become certified members of the United States Parachute Association.

Experienced jumpers eventually move on to more complicated jumps such as the formation jump, or Schlesinger’s current favorite, tracking jumps, where he said divers maximize their air resistance to fall slower.

“It was a sunset jump which is the last jump of the day, ” Schlesinger said. “It was an amazing thing that I had never done before.”

Although not everyone interested in getting that advanced, Schlesinger said he wants students to have the opportunity to at least try skydiving.

“It’s cool that we’re able to have the club and get people involved,” Schlesinger said.

Reach Elizabeth Gibson at [email protected].

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Campus Connection: U. of Illinois skydivers fly high