Ashley Cooper: Winthrop's Fencing Club President

Name: Ashley Cooper

Age: 20

Year: Sophomore

How did you get into fencing?

I saw the table at Convocation and wanted to try something new! I was already pretty into sports and wanted to do something physical again, and I really liked how chill the interest meeting was and how welcoming and helpful everyone was.

How long have you been fencing?

I joined the club my freshman year, so about a year and a half.

Why did you stay?

I wanted to get better and see myself improve. Fencing is a really self-oriented sport, and I liked that I could strive to be the best I could be and that I had to sort of hold myself accountable.

How did you become president of the club?

Well, there were only four people in the club last year, so there were only President, Vice President, and Treasurer spots up for election. I was originally voted Vice President, which was fine because I wanted to start small, but I ended up getting bumped up to being President! I’m actually glad that it happened because I’ve really got the dedication and the drive to help the club reach its potential.

How has being president affected you?

I’m definitely a lot busier! I have less free time, but it’s okay because it gets me out of my comfort zone and helps me grow. Having a leadership role has helped me grow as a person and learn to take charge. I have to be more accountable because people count on me, and it gives me motivation because I can’t skip or forget to do important things. It also looks good on resumes!

What have you learned from being president?

Learning and improving my skills is definitely different as president, but I’ve definitely gained more leadership skills. I’ve learned to start planning ahead and thinking forward, and I’ve improved my people skills and become more social through things like tabling events. I’ve also improved my physical fitness.

Do you feel any pressure to be really good at fencing as president?

Not really, no, because in fencing no matter how hard you train or how dedicated you are there’s almost always someone whose better than you, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. You just have to have a passion for the sport, you don’t have to be good at it, and I’ve got the passion for it.

What are your goals as president?

As president I really want to keep improving membership numbers, to keep people interested and get the word out about the club, and to go to a lot of tournaments as a group. I also want to have a lot of fun and keep the club a fun activity people like instead of it feeling like a chore.

What’s your best experience as president?

Seeing how interested everyone is, how much fun they’re having, and how close everyone is outside of practice is definitely one of my favorite things.

How do you think you’ve impacted the club and the members?

I think I’ve helped make the club a place where people can come together, make friends, meet new people, and get interested in a really cool sport without realizing they’re working out or feeling like it’s a chore.

Are you involved in other organizations on campus?

Yes! I’m in the campus medical clubs, GLOBAL, and I’m a tutor with the ASC!

Ashley is a hard-working student that has a passion for fencing, and genuinely cares about every member of the club. Thank you for all you do for the club, Ashley!