In a ceremony surrounded by photos and plaques dedicated to inductees of the Wayne State Athletic Hall of Fame, the WSU grappling club was gifted a practice room in Matthaei on Feb. 27.
The host for the evening was Soheeb Wains, the grappling club secretary. Wains introduced Anthony Eid, Student Senate president, who said the ribbon cutting ceremony was an event he had been looking forward to.
Eid met the club’s president, Sergio Rodriguez, three years ago when Rodriguez attended a Student Senate meeting.
“He started talking to us about some issues he was having as far as getting this grappling room in place,” Eid said. “He kept re-engaging the senate and kept pushing for this to happen. Sergio is an example of power that student voice has.”
Rodriguez said the ceremony “was a moment he has been waiting for a very, very long time.”
He thanked those who helped the idea of a grappling room become a reality, including President M. Roy Wilson, who was unable to attend due to an illness.
“We really appreciate President Wilson for all of his support for the club, but more specifically, today, for his support in the room,” Rodriguez said. “That’s why we decided to name the grappling room after President Wilson. The room will be known as the M. Roy Wilson Grappling Room.”
The club will now be able to hold practices on campus. The grappling club oversees three disciplines, wrestling, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which involve styles and techniques on the ground.
Essential to grappling training, the room is equipped with mats that absorb the impact. Rodriguez thanked Dean of Students David Strauss for funding the mats and securing the practice space.
“[The grappling club] provides a great opportunity for students to get involved on campus, meet other students and connect to Wayne State,” Dean Strauss said.
Rodriguez said the practice space will help the club grow and prepare for future competitions. He said his goal for the future is to have enough members for each discipline be autonomous.
“Before this room, we would need to have practices off of campus interdependently from WSU,” Rodriguez said. “The new space allows us to hold practices on campus, which is a fundamental aspect to grow a club at WSU. There will be more interaction and sharing of knowledge among grapplers. We will also be able to drill with different people enhancing our experiences during each practice.”
Rodriguez said he believes the M. Roy Wilson Grappling Room is a reflection of WSU’s mission and represents the ability of students to have an active voice in the administration.
“It shows the administration's disposition to listen to its students,” Rodriguez said. “I am looking forward finally closing a three-year chapter of advocacy and lobbying with the administration.”