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Dragon Boat Team Driven by Gator Pride

Driven by a drum beat, the University of Houston-Downtown’s (UHD) Dragon Boat team is ready to paddle to victory this season. The team is gearing up for upcoming races and is seeking new members.

UHD’s Dragon Boat team has been participating in local and statewide races since 2010. Its next contest is scheduled for May 4 during the Houston Dragon Boat Festival at Allen’s Landing (near campus).

“We’re seeking students, faculty, staff and friends to be a part of the team,” said team captain and adviser Andrea Sears, administrative assistant 3 for University Advancement. “It doesn’t matter if they don’t have experience. Dragon Boats are about having fun and community engagement.”

Interested Dragon Boaters should contact Sears for more details. She said that all team members undergo training and not everyone is required to be on the actual boat. Team members can also assist in carrying the boat to the water or help during the docking process.

“This team is for everybody,” she said. “There’s a role for everyone on the team.”

Dragon Boats are long, narrow canoe-like watercrafts (often outfitted with a dragon head and tail) that seat approximately 20 team members, who engage in synchronized paddling. A drummer or caller is also aboard the boat to guide the pace of the paddlers. Races extend between 250 and 400 meters in calm bodies of water.

Since the UHD team’s inception, it has won nine championship trophies. While the victories are nice, Sears said that the team is focused more on camaraderie and promoting Gator Pride.

“Dragon Boats are an excellent opportunity to bond with others outside of work or class,” she said. “It’s a fun activity that not only showcases our university, it brings awareness to the ancient sport of Dragon Boat racing and allows the team to engage in a fun, healthy activity.”

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.