Southeast Missouri State University student publication

No ocean no problem; Scuba Club forms at Southeast

Sunday, February 10, 2019
Graphic by Jennifer Brien ~ Arrow Reporter

Amanda Milbrandt and Tori Wright are proving scuba diving can be made possible without having an ocean nearby.

The pair started the Scuba Club at Southeast this semester, with Milbrandt the president and Wright the vice president.

Events such as Discover Scuba are underway as the club intends to have one each month. This event is hosted for students at the Student Aquatic Center where equipment and instructors are available to educate diving.

Amanda Milbrandt and Tori Wright taking part in games while scuba diving at the Student Aquatic Center.
Photo submitted by Amanda Milbrandt

It also comes free for anyone looking to participate in the event.

Students interested in pursuing scuba diving have the opportunity during Discover Scuba events to become certified by Ozark Dive, a dive shop based out of Poplar Bluff, MO. By receiving certification it allows divers to take part in unique and thrilling experiences.

“There’s a lot of people that are interested that aren’t certified, so planning Discover Scuba events and allowing them to try it out and possibly go through certification if they want to is huge,” Wright said.

The certification lasts a lifetime.

“Ozark Dive has been really generous and they are the ones that bring all of the equipment and instructors,” Milbrandt said.

Milbrandt, who is from Springfield, Illinois, is a junior majoring in forensic chemistry, and Wright, from Belton, Missouri is a junior majoring in marine biology, both sharing a strong passion for scuba diving.

Tori Wright posing for a selfie while scuba diving at the Student Aquatic Center.
Photo submitted by Amanda Milbrandt

“My best friend got me into it and I got certified three or four years ago, in high school. My best friend is a lifeguard and told me to come try it,” Milbrandt said.

For Wright, it has been something she has wanted to start for a while.

“A lot of girls that I have interned with and live near coasts, their universities have scuba clubs at their school so I wanted to get something started here,” Wright said.

Together the two are planning trips to neat places roughly two hours from campus, noting that oceans are not the only place divers can go to as mines, reefs, lakes and rivers work just as well.

“Everyone thinks you can’t dive in the Midwest but there are several places around here that we can go diving,” Wright said.

Of those places are Mermet Springs in Illinois and the Bonne Terre Mine in Missouri, which are both upcoming weekend trips.

With no dates set in place yet, the Mermet Springs trip will combine environmental awareness and fun as divers will take part in underwater clean up and pumpkin carving.

Milbrandt and Wright are also working towards finalizing a spring break trip to Vortex Springs, Florida with limited spots available.

Amanda Milbrandt and Tori Wright enjoying scuba diving at the Student Aquatic Center.
Photo submitted by Amanda Milbrandt

The club has taken initiative in applying for fundraising through the school that would go towards travel expenses for spring break.

This trip is a “lovely change from the Midwest,” Milbrandt said.

As the club continues to grow and expand, Milbrandt and Wright encourage anyone who is interested to give diving a shot, and maybe even join the club as roughly 20 students have already shown an interest.

“You don’t have to be good at swimming because it doesn’t require that, and it’s a lot easier than you think,” Milbrandt said.

Whether underwater or not, scuba events will continue around campus as the next one is set for later this month.

The Scuba Club will be holding a superhero day for the Boys and Girls club on Feb. 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. and will provide an Aquaman booth full of crafts and games.

For more information on upcoming events or updates on trips, check out the Scuba Club’s Facebook page as well as Living at Southeast.