University of Wollongong Cheer and Dance (UOWCAD) has seen a dramatic increase in new members, domestic and international, this year since the COVID lockdown in 2020, and the spiking numbers has benefitted all members.

UOWCAD, a club that trains at UniActive every week, has now amassed seven teams compared to just a handful of athletes in 2020 after a year of training over Zoom.

A long-time member of the club and vice president of UOWCAD for 2024, Isabel Bowmer, says comparing 2020 to 2023 is like fire and ice.

“A large body of our athletes from 2020 to 2022 started either just before COVID or at the start of COVID and continued on while finishing their degree,” Ms Bowmer said.

“We had very few new athletes join in during this time due to COVID causing a complete haunt on campus life.

“Now that all of these athletes have graduated, this was a real transitional year for the club.”

UOWCAD athletes have luckily had the opportunity to compete this year and the last as many National competitions bounced back quickly after 2020 and 2021. This year, with so many students back on campus and the international students arriving on campus, the club has seen a large increase in interest to join the club.

Promotions officer for 2024 for UOWCAD, Nieva Willis, said that since joining the club this year, she has made life-changing friendships and support systems that she’s grateful for.

“It’s hard to join a space where you know no one to begin with, but it’s important for new students to remember they are not the only ones in that position,” Ms Willis said.

“At the end of the day you are doing it for you and that’s all that matters.

“I’m so grateful to have gained so many friendships that go beyond the club who I trust and adore with my whole heart.”

UOWCAD is one of many university cheer and dance clubs across the state that have suffered from the impact of COVID, with many completely shutting down after 2020.

With competitions back to normal this year, the increase of competing clubs has been extreme.

Attached below is a video from a team training by UOWCAD.