By Jackie Luskey

We’ve come a long way.

Since the first dedicated recreational sports departments were established in 1913, collegiate recreation has grown to be a steadfast part of the college experience.

With collegiate recreation’s ever-growing programs, facilities, and dedicated professionals, we have a lot to celebrate this year.

And the NIRSA family will start celebrating together at the 2013 NIRSA Annual Conference because 100 years of service to students in higher learning deserves to be honored all throughout 2013!

And luckily, there are tons of ways to bring the celebration to your own campus.

What will you do to take part in the Centennial Celebration of Collegiate Recreation?

As the first two institutions of higher learning to establish dedicated departments of intramural sports, the University of Michigan and The Ohio State University got a head start on their Centennial Celebrations of Collegiate Recreation. We caught up with University of Michigan’s Assistant Director of Rec Sports, Nicole Green, and The Ohio State University Senior Associate Director for Administrations and Programs, Marci Shumaker—each has been planning and implementing an exciting lineup of Centennial Celebration initiatives and events at their respective institutions.

Nicole and Marci shared some great ideas for bringing this momentous occasion to any campus all throughout 2013. Check out the ideas below on how to take reverie in the Centennial Celebration of Collegiate Recreation and honor the occasion in a way that can be custom-tailored to the needs of your staff and student population.

Employee Education

Before full-time and student staff can get in on the action, they need to be in the know.

Explain and discuss the Centennial Celebration at meetings and trainings.

Plan milestones once employees are familiar with the Centennial Celebration campaign. Your staff is part of collegiate recreation history, so they should take pride and ownership in the celebration of it. Nicole explained how the University of Michigan established student planning work teams, incorporating student organizations into planning special events that provide not only fun, but also professional development in the process.

Uncover your history with a Historical Work Team. At the University of Michigan, their Historical Work team exposed lots of interesting historical touchstones, which they used to assemble a history of collegiate recreation webpage, bringing this association-wide event to a personal, more granular level.

See it to believe it

Visibility is the key to extending the Centennial Celebration of Collegiate Recreation a step beyond staff. Luckily, there are lots of ways to draw students into the fun.

Revamp your logo. The Centennial Celebration is a great excuse to utilize your new logo during 2013 (and potentially beyond). For an example, visit University of Michigan’s new Centennial Celebration logo, which makes a beautiful statement.

Go viral with videos commemorating the Centennial Celebration. Recruit students who are eager to contribute to produce videos that detail 100 years of collegiate recreation and the specific history of collegiate recreation on your campus. Whether it’s funny or sentimental, give your campus something to watch, share, and archive.

Create a storybook as a nod to tradition. The University of Michigan’s Rec Sports’ is collecting personal stories of participants, students, staff, and other individuals positively impacted by their department. In addition to using these stories in digital archives and marketing, they’ll also go old-school, printing a few copies to keep as precious keepsakes for their community to peruse.

Display banners that represent momentous occasions in collegiate recreation on their campus, with each banner profiling a specific decade.

Keep students in the loop by posting Centennial Celebration information on your own website.

Who doesn’t love a party and some swag.

Engage your community with fun events and mementos that we can archive another 100 years from now.

Have a birthday bash for the Centennial Celebration of Collegiate Recreation at your campus recreation center. This party could include special fitness classes, wellness programming…and maybe some cake, too.

Special group fitness classes held at landmark locations make people’s everyday fitness routines become extraordinary and in closer connection with your larger campus, as a whole. For example, The University of Ohio will host a fitness class in the breathtaking Ohio Stadium.

A homecoming float takes the party to the streets.

Go retro with an intramural tournament that plays by the rules of 1913 (bonus points for vintage-style uniforms).

Match the Centennial Celebration to other big events on campus. The Ohio State University is also celebrating 30 years of group fitness programming in 2013. To make a double bash commemorating both big milestones, they’re hosing the Midwest Fit Fest.

Giveaways, raffles, and souvenirs let students take collegiate recreation home with them. There are all sorts of swag potential: bracelets, stress balls, stickers, flashlights, etc. The University of Michigan gets students pumped for the Centennial Celebration by promoting their great perks on their Facebook album.

Make 100 a lucky number with 100-themed promotions. Sky’s the limit with this one, but here are some options: 100th person to enter a facility, 100th Intramural team to sign-up, or $100 for 100 days of a facility membership.

However your institution decides to partake in the Centennial Celebration of Collegiate Recreation, we are excited for your campus’ contribution to the history of our profession, as well as to its future success.You can also share your institution’s rich history with NIRSA, as we work to compile a thorough history of the profession. Bring historical artifacts from your campus that showcase the diversity or growth of the field: display your old uniforms, retro sports equipment, etc. at the NIRSA Booth. Share historical photographs or video documentaries celebrating your department’s history. To find out how you can add your school’s landmark moments to the rich tapestry of collegiate recreation history that will be on display at NIRSA 2013 and beyond, email NIRSA Creative Director, Cory Granholm.

If you are going to be in Las Vegas for NIRSA 2013, be sure to join us as we celebrate some of the profession’s legacy leaders. Key mentors and influential teachers for a transformative generation of professionals in collegiate recreation will be honored at a special Legacy Reception, following the Annual Meeting of Members.