On October 1st, Student Sport Ireland in partnership with 20×20 announced the first ever national women in sport initiative for third level colleges and universities on the island of Ireland.
Twenty-eight Student Sport Ireland member colleges and universities, representing more than 200,000 students signed 20×20 Charters declaring their commitment to women and girls in sport.
The 20×20 Third Level Member initiative called on all students and members of staff to increase visibility of women’s sport in their respective college or university, boost attendances and grow participation and on-campus involvement of female students in sport and physical activity by 20% by the end of 2020.
In what has been a disrupted academic year due to Covid-19 the students and staff in colleges all over Ireland made their mark running initiatives all over the country to increase female participation.
A new Student Sport Ireland 20×20 Initiative Award was presented to IT Tralee during the recent SSI Network 2020, as their idea to host Free 20×20 Exercise proved a huge success on campus in Kerry.
There was five students who were the main drivers behind the initiative, namely Thomas Kearns, Rachel O’Shea, Hannah Cleary, Laura Clarke and Micheala Murphy with their idea to run free female only exercise classes for six weeks in semester one and for a further six weeks in semester two. Those classes included HITT, Self Defence for Women, Spinning and Aerobics.
The aim of the was to target inactive students and students who did not generally get involved in sporting activities in IT Tralee. This targeting was done by with the help of academic staff encouraging students to get involved and by a strong social media campaign. From class one the rooms were full of a main percentage in attendance in the target inactive student group.
As Covid-19 restrictions took hold in March the students organising the classes acted quickly and continued to deliver the classes online to those who were taking part all along. This insured the students would stay active going forward.
There were some fantastic statistics presented by the organisers, 90% of participants in Women’s Self Defense were new to the club, 75% of participants in Aerobics /HITT classes had never done it before, 87.5% of participants in Spinning had not participated previously.
Another novel idea was that all class participants were offered a 20×20 IT Tralee half zip at a discount price after the organisers had raised money through sponsorship. This half zip was worn like a badge of honor for all participating students by the end of the classes.