Please provide a statement of your personal views on the role and contributions of collegiate recreation in higher education. In your response describe how collegiate recreation has influenced your development.
I believe collegiate recreation’s role in higher education should aim to provide a service to students that helps them feel welcomed, included, valued, and cared for while improving their physical and mental wellbeing. It is important for college students to be able to step away from the classrooms and textbooks and have an outlet to relieve stress, have fun, meet people, and improve their wellness. Collegiate recreation is the most important place on campus as it serves a vast amount of the student body in many ways.
Collegiate recreation has had a tremendous impact on me during my time as a college student. I attribute a lot of the growth I have experienced personally and professionally as a college student to my role as a campus recreation student employee. As I progressed through college earning a supervisor position in intramural sports and sport clubs my self-esteem and self-confidence greatly improved. Being a part of a team of hard-working individuals, my goal was to see all of us work as one cohesive unit to elevate our program and positively impact those students who took part in our sports. Being a part of a community and family through work, made a difference for me in my college experience as I was a part of something greater than myself. I was challenged by my supervisor to be a leader for the group, and I’m thankful for that opportunity because I worked hard to help my peers more than myself. Leaders elevate those around them, and that pushes me to improve my skills, so I can be fully adept to develop the people around me.
Through collegiate recreation I was forced to break out of my shell and step outside my comfort zone. Once you can step outside your comfort zone that is where true growth really occurs. My interpersonal skills really improved and that has carried me a long way since then. This field is a community and is formed by building relationships, so improving my interpersonal skills became a focus for me. Collegiate recreation provided a platform for me to do so.
Within the context of the NIRSA Strategic Plan, what area/item would you say is a major issue students face today? Please identify a student driven issue that we are currently face today and you would like to address during your term. How will you create solutions in your role on the Student Leadership Team to address it?
Two important issues that need to be addressed include evolving the brand of NIRSA and advocating for our profession and the benefits of the services we offer.
There has been an increased emphasis on fitness and wellness in today’s society and the benefits, but I don’t believe this has reached the entire student population on all campuses. Some institutions across the country have recently been facing a problem where the number of students utilizing certain programs provided by campus recreation are decreasing. Assessment and evaluation of programs can help to understand the issue even further. As more resources are being dedicated to helping students with mental health problems campus recreation can be a great resource to aid in dealing with these issues. However, I think the benefits of utilizing our services can get overlooked. It’s important to advocate for our profession and voice how we can contribute to student engagement amongst our institutions.
Another issue that can help increase campus recreation’s brand on campus is making facilities more accessible to individuals living with disabilities, as well as being inclusive to members of the LGBT community. More efforts have begun towards this initiative but there is still more work that can be done. A simple, but important change is changing the language to be an advocate to match today’s progressive times.
In terms of evolving our brand, campus recreation now encompasses so much more in regards to programs and services than what the National Intramural and Recreation Sports Association title can imply to professionals outside of campus recreation trying to understand the work we do. It’s important to go beyond this within our branding when telling our story to people.
I hope to be a leader in this change and evolution of our brand while working with others on the Student Leadership Team. Being strategic with our language and how to tell our story across various forms of media will be an intention of mine, in hopes of reaching more students and advocating to people outside of NIRSA as well.
In describing your contributions to NIRSA (i.e. presentations, volunteering, previous leadership roles, etc,), identify how your involvement and experiences meet the position criteria and qualify you to advocate for and serve the students of the Association.
My direct contributions to NIRSA include volunteering at different regional tournaments for flag football and soccer. Attending regional tournaments provided me the opportunity to increase my knowledge, and also connect with other campus recreation colleagues from various locations. Having the chance to meet new people or reconnect with people I’ve met before, as the rapport builds, is the greatest benefit. I truly began to see and feel like a part of the NIRSA community when I witnessed the willingness to help and collaborative efforts reflected in the selflessness that campus recreation embodies. I hope to continue that work by collaborating with other student leaders across NIRSA and getting to know each person and understand the unique perspective everyone can offer. Collaboration is crucial to creating change and to making improvements. When the decision is going to affect a vast amount of people it is important to have diverse voices within the decision-making process and open those lines of communication.
I enjoy being involved and am always looking for the next challenge to further my chances for growth, which is why the position appealed to me. The next immediate step I want to achieve is presenting at conferences. My current presentation experience from freshman orientations and open houses about campus recreation have certainly increased my confidence with that. A big takeaway from that experience is being aware of how to creatively sell our brand and services to potential students. I hope to use that experience to be able to relay the opportunities available to current student members and non-members to get more involved.
As a Student Leader within NIRSA, you have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the field of collegiate recreation. With a focus on Student Member Recruitment & Retention, and Student Development what skills, talents, and perspectives would you bring to the Student Leadership Team?
My leadership skills, passion for learning, and sports coaching experience will be an asset in contributing to the NIRSA environment by focusing on the motivation and growth of the association.
My definition of leadership and how I act as a leader includes working together with a group of people, elevating everyone involved, and successfully achieving our goal. I think what separates great leaders from others is being able to learn about the people you’re working with, knowing their goals, knowing their strengths, and being able to delegate tasks that develop their strengths. An effective leader should also know how to follow, step back, and adjust to the group’s needs. Positive encouragement can also affect people’s work performance. I put my efforts into letting people know what they’re doing well and not just give constructive feedback. Leaders elevate those around them and that pushes me to improve my skills so I can fully adapt to develop the people around me.
The mentality I possess can make a positive impact in this position and the students within this association. Recently, my focus has been to embrace challenges, maintain a positive attitude, take risks, and most importantly enjoy the journey. This mentality shift has become a powerful tool for myself while working in campus recreation and my personal life. I hope to impact others to expand and challenge their own mentality.
I believe I’ll be able to have a lasting impact on the people i will work with through authenticity, humility, and pure joy for the work we do.