After winning the Northeast Championships last weekend, the Radcliffe rugby club has qualified for the USA Rugby National Women's Collegiate champsionships in May. Now, the black and White faces a new challenge: getting there.
To play in the tournament, which will be held in Colorado this year, the club team must first raise about $15,000, according to senior treasurer Danielle D. Leonard.
Although Radcliffe has had a rugby team since 1982, the team has never played in the nationals before.
"This is definitely the first time Radcliffe rugby has gone this far," said senior team president Sarah L. Schooler. "It's very historic. It's the first time we've won New England [the New England region], let alone the Northeast."
Like all other club teams, Radcliffe rugby is funded only minimally by the athletic department, which pays a stipend to the team's head coach in addition to USA Rugby membership dues, referee fees and liability insurance.
Team members also pay $45 dues each season. The team raises the rest of its operational funds from alumnae and parent donations and from Undergraduate Council grants.
The rugby team traditionally sells t-shirts each year to raise money, and plans to sell hats this year as well, Schooler said.
"We're also hoping to organize some sort of party or dance for undergraduates and charge a small fee and possibly do a lottery," she said.
To raise the money for the trip, the Black and White has applied for a grant from the Women's Sports Foundation and has already received extra funds from the Radcliffe Union of Students and the council, she said.
Even before qualifying for the Nationals, the Black and White hoped to take its annual spring break training trip in Italy this year.
"International rugby is more developed, more competitive," Schooler said. "Going to Italy would be better preparation for the spring season."
With the added financial pressure of funding a trip to Colorado, said captain Liza Student, the team hopes to convince its alumnae network to give even more this year.
"I think we'll probably campaign to alumnae and parents and try to get them to make donations," Studen said. "We've never been to Nationals before, and this is our big chance."
"We have some supporters who will hopefully contribute." Leonard said.
Because the Black and White will be representing Harvard at Nationals, team leaders hope to avoid having players pay for the trip themselves.
"The other big trips we're been on have been tours over spring break and players have paid some." Leonard said. "But since this isn't a vacation, we want to raise the amount so that players won't have to pay out of their own pockets to go to Nationals."