Recently, the NIRSA Board of Directors gathered at the University of Victoria in British Columbia for their midyear meetings. The Board gathers for these meetings each year at or near a different member institution in order to engage with members directly. This year, the Board selected to visit Victoria in order to do more learning and engagement with our Canadian campus recreation colleagues.
NIRSA Board Midyear Meetings
The university provided the NIRSA Board with a very warm welcome and a fantastic meeting space within UVic’s Centre for Athletics, Recreation, and Special Abilities (CARSA) facility; the Board felt like honorary Vikes from day one! Such congeniality extended throughout all parts the group’s stay in Victoria, and the Board, for their part, made sure their learning and engagement was not contained to campus. The Board members took a guided tour of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, brushing up on their knowledge of history and government—both federal and local; they also learned a lot about the history and ideals surrounding the relationship between Canadian universities and First Nations peoples.
During the Board’s two days of formal meetings, they worked through a strategic agenda, reviewing reports from the Executive Education Task Force and Small College/Community College Task Force, as well as approving the FY2017 NIRSA operating budget, and endorsing the tenants for a Canadian region if NIRSA members approve the bylaws change during this year’s elections and the process to create a new region is completed. As you may have already read, the proposed change to the bylaws would remove the details of each region. Then both a proposal process to create a new region and process to change an existing region would be put into the NIRSA policy manual. Much of the work to develop these processes was completed this summer by the NIRSA Canadian Region Task Force.
Western Canadian Campus Recreation Conference
Part of the strategy in holding Board meetings in Victoria was also to align with the Western Canadian Campus Recreation Conference (WCCRC), joining over 150 of Western Canada’s top, intercollegiate recreation and fitness professionals and students. A unique part of the conference this year was the Canada in Motion Leadership Summit and panel discussion. Canada in Motion, also known as the Canadian Advocacy work team, has been focused on promoting the value of campus recreation to Canadian university administrations. These leaders are a part of the larger NIRSA Canadian Leadership Team (CLT), which was formed in June 2013; its members also serve as NIRSA provincial leaders. Their goal is to further the engagement and support of Campus Recreation professionals within Canada as they work to build their professional home.
This leadership summit brought together thought leaders from Canadian recreation, athletics, kinesiology, and student affairs, as well as NIRSA, to discuss a new and uniquely Canadian region of NIRSA. With the Canadian Campus Recreation Association (CCRA), an informal networking group, serving as hosts, thoughtful, thorough, and inspired conversations took place highlighting how a new Canadian region can leverage and share the aspects that make them unique, while celebrating and embracing those aspects already shared with US-based NIRSA members.
Additionally, NIRSA President Stacey Hall represented the association on the Canada in Motion Panel Discussion, a general session, attesting the value and importance of collegiate recreation for both the institutions and students it serves. Joining Stacey on the panel were Clint Hamilton, Director of Vikes Athletics & Recreation, University of Victoria; Patricia Pardo, Director of Accessibility Services, Mount Royal University, and President of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS); Joel Lynn, Executive Director of Student Services, University of Victoria; and Ken Olynyk, Director, Athletics & Recreation, Thompson Rivers University. The group discussed strategy and how to maximize their collective impact as Canada in Motion continues their work to build a professional home in Canada for the field of campus recreation.
A final touchpoint for the NIRSA Board at the WCCRC was the NIRSA Town Hall Lunch where updates on NIRSA’s strategies to support Canadian campus recreation professionals and students was shared alongside other association updates. The interactions during this lunch were overwhelmingly positive and full of great insight and energy, exemplifying how the heart of both U.S. and Canadian campus recreation professionals already are united.
For more information on the NIRSA Board of Directors Midyear meetings, the WCCRC conference, or the work of Canada in Motion, feel free to contact a member of the NIRSA Board of Directors, Member Network, or Canadian Leadership Team Chair, Chris Dawe.