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Johannes Swagers

Just a thought of concern here. I started supporting your cause(s) when it still was a fun local initiative for fund raising. I get the impression now that it developed into a major operation with international attention. This may come with certain risks. From experience I know what it feels like when one joins an established student club/association with an existing infra structure, rules, regulations, traditions, yearly event calendar etc. For the first time in my life I had the opportunity to develop my organisational talents and personal skills and by cooperating with others reach levels, that I never had reached before. The rewards were satisfaction of actually achieving something, peer appreciation, friendships (life-long) and lots and lots of fun. In a certain way it was intoxicating. My passion for the club resulted in a serious imbalance between my extracurricular activities and academic achievements. Don’t you worry, I graduated eventually. My concern for the rowers is a similar imbalance between the continuously growing Calendar/Sport Allies activities and their academic and sports achievements. Is there any monitoring or guidance by e.g. counselors or alumni or is my concern ungrounded? I still think The WR Calendar/ Sport Allies is a great initiative, but I believe we all can agree that the rowers should not be the ones to pay the price for its success in their personal lives. This may seem a bit over concerned, but there is always that risk.

PS: rowing is the best sport in the world J!

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Hi, Johannes.  You raise a very valid point, and one that we have been addressing for a long time as a project.  

On the one hand, the students value the opportunity to explore what it is like to have real responsibility, and the experience they get from this.  On the other hand, they are at university to experience many other things, too, and we recognise this.

As the project has grown, we have brought in more and more professional help - for example, we began using a professional fulfilment company to despatch our orders back in 2013, when this became too much for the club to manage.  And since 2015 we have been using professional IT and customer support teams.  These are just two examples.  

We do also offer a limited number of internship roles for contributors who are keen to become more involved in the project, and many alumni still provide guidance and support to the rowers and to the project.  

Last but not least, we have a great team of creative professionals who ensure that our content is produced within an ethos of respect for the contributors as university students and as volunteers.  This is probably the most important aspect of how we aim to look after the students who get involved.
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