New this fall, the NIRSA Small Programs Advisory Council is piloting a small programs workshop at Garrett College in Western Maryland on September 29. Feedback received during the small programs needs assessment from 2016 inspired the idea for the workshop.

In that needs assessment, many people expressed a desire for more local networking opportunities that would allow small programs staff to meet in-person to share ideas and current practices in an atmosphere similar to state workshops but with a specific focus on operating rec centers with limited full-time staff. The NIRSA Small Programs Task Force worked with the NIRSA Board of Directors to develop the recommendations, and now the pilot workshop is moving from an idea to reality.

Workshop planners Steve Putnam, Director at the Garrett College Community Aquatic and Recreation Complex, and Matt Grimm, Director of Campus Recreation at Stevenson University, hope that this one-day event will help local campus rec professionals develop their networks.

“It’s the nature of our work at small programs to collaborate, but sometimes we don’t think to look beyond our own campus,” says Steve. “We hope that by bringing people together for a day, programs with limited staff or even just one full-time staff member will begin to develop a broader network that will make their jobs a little easier and give them some new ideas to try out back at home.”

Matt adds, “The NIRSA network has been a tremendous resource for me.  I want to give back by letting others know we’re here to help each other out. That’s what NIRSA is all about.”

The free workshop is open to anyone who works in campus recreation at a small program, generally defined as a two-year school, a program with five FTE or less, or a campus with student enrollment under 5,000. Though invitations have gone out to schools within 150 miles of Garrett College, staff from all small programs are welcome. “We’re really excited to host the first event of this kind and hope that many staff in the area take advantage of this opportunity,” says Steve.

In addition to not having registration fees, the schedule of events is designed with travel time in mind in hopes of eliminating the need for hotel accommodations. “We don’t want cost to be a barrier for people to attend,” says Matt.

To register or learn more about this event, contact workshop planner Steve Putnam. The NIRSA Small Programs Advisory Council hopes to offer additional workshops next year. If you’re interested in hosting a small programs workshop in your area, contact NIRSA Membership Services Coordinator Megan Granholm.

Upcoming educational opportunities for small programs

Mark your calendars for the 2018 NIRSA Conference March 4-7 in Denver, CO, and consider registering for the all day, small programs preconference workshop. Check for local events in your area or connect with your Regional Representative about upcoming events in your area. An online small programs meeting is in the works—stay tuned to NIRSA news for details or follow @NIRSAlive on Twitter to stay up with all the latest NIRSA news and more!


  • For more information, contact NIRSA Membership Services Coordinator Megan Granholm.

Christine Haluzak is currently NIRSA's Director of Membership and Leadership Programs; she is available at