2018 in Denver was full of great memories and inspirational moments for NIRSA Annual Conference attendees, presenters, and exhibitors alike! Each year, NIRSA members look forward to the annual NIRSA family reunion for many reasons. People who come to the NIRSA Annual Conference—whether it’s their first or their fortieth—revel in the opportunities to strengthen their skills, discover new ideas, connect with colleagues new and old, and explore new products, services, and more.

In short, it’s a place where NIRSA members go to elevate their professional paths, strengthen their competencies, and join their colleagues in campus recreation and wellbeing for the purpose of advancing the profession.

institutions represented

The NIRSA Annual Conference is a once-a-year opportunity to reconnect with old friends, embrace new ones, and learn all about the latest trends in collegiate recreation.

The 2018 NIRSA Annual Conference & Campus Rec and Wellness Expo more than lived up to the expectations of thousands of attendees and exhibitors who are already excited for what NIRSA 2019 in Boston will have to offer.

“My first NIRSA experience definitely lived up to the expectations! The sessions were engaging, the socials provided opportunities to network, and it was a great reminder of why we all love working in campus recreation!”

Shelly Mamo, Fitness Graduate Assistant at the University of South Carolina

“NIRSA continues to be the best use of our university’s time and resources. Our staff is able to interview, see the best in the industry at the expo, and learn at sessions.”

Megan Morris, Director of Campus Recreation at Loyola University Chicago

“Every year, this conference reminds me exactly why I fell in love with the field of campus recreation! I am so grateful to be part of the NIRSA family!”

Amy Ross, Operations Supervisor at James Madison University (UREC)

education sessions

Whether you come to strengthen core competencies…

There is no more extensive, annual professional development opportunity for campus recreation professionals and students than the NIRSA Annual Conference. It’s the place where leading professionals and institutions come together to showcase best practices, cutting-edge programs, assessment findings, and life-changing stories.


See related: Watch the NIRSA 2017 panel on “Creating a Culture of Wellbeing

“The NIRSA Annual Conference is a cornerstone of my professional development. Our NIRSA colleagues are ready and willing to share their innovations and best practices with each other to help others strengthen their own campus recreation offerings.”

Matt Shilling, Assistant Director of Facilities and Aquatics at the University of North Carolina- Charlotte

“The NIRSA 2018 Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado was an incredible experience. As a student, I am in awe of all the opportunities that are available to me to further my professional development.”

Caroline Ciell, Graduate Assistant at the University of Mississippi

“The 2018 NIRSA Annual Conference was the best professional experience I’ve had to date. This year’s selection of sessions was the most forward-thinking and content-rich set in years. Each year, I leave the conference thinking that it can’t get any better, and every subsequent year I am proven wrong.”

Nyssa Owen, Facility Coordinator at the Georgia Institute of Technology

“Each session gave me ideas to improve our program. I kept saying, ‘that was awesome!’ or ‘that could be great for us!’ The whole experience got me fired up to go back and put the ideas into action!”

Brennan Coon, Assistant Director of Intramurals at the Rochester Institute of Technology

To be inspired…

As usual, the conference presented members with some amazing keynote addresses. Aron Ralston kicked off NIRSA 2018 with an inspiring presentation about overcoming adversity while Ross Shafer’s Closing General Session address asked members to consider how they can offer participants friction free experiences.

“It was nothing short of inspiring to meet so many other humans that believe in and strive to create inclusive, intentional, and healthy environments for students.”

Emily Gartland, Assistant Director of Fitness/Wellness – Group Exercise at Indiana University

 “I always enjoy attending the annual conference. I leave energized and rejuvenated. I love what we do as an organization and the conference is always a boost for morale.”

Kelly Shorter, Satellite Facilities Coordinator at Ohio State University

To connect…

From hallway meetings to planned socials, the connections made outside of educational sessions are also a huge part of the NIRSA Annual Conference experience.

conference attendees

“With every year that I attend, I build new connections and relationships with others in the field. As a young professional, my confidence in my knowledge and ability to network and work with others has grown each year.”

Shana Kessler, Intramural and Club Sports Coordinator, Salem State University

“Here at NIRSA, everyone is ‘home’ and you feel like you are a part of something bigger. It’s a great feeling to get out of your bubble and connect with the rest of the recreation world, share ideas and programs, and come home invigorated to make your home programs better.”

Dania Cochran, Assistant Director of Student Development and Programs, Central Washington University Recreation

The Denver Convention Center was milling with people during both the People of Color Social and the LGBTQI & Friends Social, both of which were generously sponsored by PLAE. Everyone came ready to celebrate some of the diversity that makes our Association so wonderful.

Many also took advantage of the opportunity to connect with colleagues amid the stunning backdrop of Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

“Our team’s experience at NIRSA this year was top notch and we are all excited to bring our experiences back to campus.”

Tony Kreitzer, Director for Campus Recreation & Fitness at Texas A&M University-Kingsville

“For five days, I was surrounded by professionals who did nothing but uplift, encourage, and invite me to further my development and exceed my own expectations.”

Rachel Franklin, Student Director of Sport Clubs, Campus Recreation at Florida State University

campus rec & wellness exhibitors

To discover what’s trending…

The Campus Rec & Wellness Expo was amazing this year! The exhibitors who displayed their products, services, technologies, and more continue to shine an amazing spotlight on what’s hot in campus recreation.

“Attending the 2018 Annual Conference reaffirmed the fact that NIRSA remains on the forefront of issues occurring on our campuses. I look forward to being part of NIRSA and helping lead the way to health and wellbeing.”

Darcie Burde, Associate Director at the University of Florida

“It’s a rare thing to have so many companies and vendors all in one place, readily available to answer any questions you may have. You have the ability to put any product to the test and find what best serves your unique campus population.”

Ervin Brown, Coordinator – Facility Operations at Texas State University

“As an instructor, new to the field of campus rec, attending the NIRSA Conference served to broaden my awareness of the field and the positive impact engagement can have/does have upon student learning, student mental and physical health and wellness.”

Kathleen Valerio, Health Educator and Peer Education Program Coordinator at Stony Brook University

“The Campus Recreation & Wellness Expo is always well organized and has a great environment. It’s one of my favorites parts of the conference.”

Suzanne Merrill, Assistant Director of Operations & Risk Management at the University of Wisconsin- Madison

awards presented

To celebrate…

NIRSA members bring tremendous value to the field of collegiate recreation. Whether they are professional members inspiring passion within student members, student members going above and beyond, or institutional members finding creative solutions, NIRSA members strive to recognize the excellent work of their colleagues and the Annual Conference is where NIRSA awards are distributed and celebrated.

“NIRSA continues to be an organization focused on leadership, intellectual growth, professional development, mentoring, and networking; the 2018 annual conferences was another exemplar of the Association and its members living out those values.”

Jacob K. Tingle, Director of Sport Management at Trinity University

“I love being able to see friends and colleagues from across the country, to find out where people are and the amazing things they are accomplishing.”

Shana Kessler, Intramural and Club Sports Coordinator at Salem State University

To give back…

NIRSA members love a challenge. The NIRSA Foundation’s ambitious goal was to raise $81,000 during the annual conference campaign—and our donors blew it out of the water by raising $85,278!

Money raised for the future of campus rec

Thanks to everyone who donated or stopped by to learn more about the opportunities provided by the philanthropic arm of NIRSA!

The NIRSA Foundation Board is thrilled by the outstanding engagement of all our donors but want to give a special shout-out to the 2017–2018 Student Leadership Team—their hard work will send three student scholarship recipients to NIRSA 2019 because of the “By Students, For Students” initiative!

Your donations continue to create opportunities for the NIRSA Family through the NIRSA Foundation’s four fields of interest: scholarships, research, student officials development, and leadership.

Scholarship opportunities provided by the NIRSA Foundation

 “NIRSA is my new family. I am honoured to have been involved with NIRSA and look forward to many conferences, networking opportunities, and fun within NIRSA for many years to come!”

Spencer Cavan, Sports Facilitator at the University of Guelph

“My first NIRSA Annual Conference was better than I had hoped for! The sessions I attended gave me insights to bring back to my campus. I will without a doubt be attending the 2019 NIRSA Annual Conference.”

Tucker Paschen, Recreation Intern at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Whatever the reason…

Inspiring educational session and guest speakers, countless chances to network, so many preconference opportunities, a dynamic Career Services Center, NIRSA 2018 had something for everyone!

So, what keeps NIRSA members coming back year after year to the NIRSA Annual Conference? We asked a few NIRSA 2018 attendees to explain what makes the annual family reunion such a treat—why they look forward to embracing the opportunity to elevate their paths with so many members year after year.

“The conference was one of the best experiences and opportunities of my life. I am very excited to attend another one!”

Sarah Grace, University of Maryland, College Park

“The NIRSA conference gave me everything I could’ve hoped for and more. I will be returning for years to come!”

Peter Briguglio, Coordinator of Intramurals and Sports Administration, CUNY LaGuardia Community College Campus Recreation

Thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers who made NIRSA 2018 in Denver such a memorable and worthwhile event for so many.

“I left the conference reenergized, inspired, and excited to get back to work at my institution. I look forward to the journey that lies ahead with my new NIRSA family!”

Namoonga M Mantina, Campus Health and Wellness Coordinator at Beloit College

“As always, I leave feeling like I have learned new content and ideas and have seen my family in our big reunion. We continue to stick to our core values and we were reminded of how wonderful this network is.”

Stephanne Musser, Assistant Director of Fitness Programs and Services at The Ohio State University

“This was my first time attending the NIRSA conference and I was overwhelmed by how positive, friendly, and helpful literally everyone at the conference was. I think this is a testament to the culture of NIRSA itself, but the conference and all the sessions I attended really helped foster that open and inclusive environment. I loved it!”

Rose Freeman, Assistant Business Manager at the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center

We hope to see you in Boston for a health and wellbeing revolution at NIRSA 2019

institutions represented
institutions represented