Now in its third year, the Small Programs Advisory Council continues to add value to NIRSA’s suite of benefits for schools with small campus rec departments.
NIRSA’s Small Programs Advisory Council members are:
- Lisa Caldwell, Fitness & Intramural Specialist at Florida SouthWestern State College
- Christopher Crume, Director of Aquatics Center at Denison University
- Andrew Doyle, Coordinator of Recreation at Southern New Hampshire University
- Marc Falkenstein, Executive Director, Campus Life and University Center Services at University of the Pacific
- Rachael Finley, Director of Campus Recreation at York College of Pennsylvania
- Mila Padgett, Director, Campus Recreation at University of South Carolina Aiken
- Alicia Rossow, Director of Wellness at Florida Southern College
- Ann Storey, Assistant Director of Campus Life & Housing at Sheridan College
- Christine Haluzak, Director of Membership at NIRSA
When asked what excites them the most about their work this year, members of the council had a lot to say. “Meeting other professionals in the field,” answers Ann Storey. “I’m also excited to help other small programs offer great experiences to their students knowing the unique challenges we face with limited time, space and staff.” Chris Crume says, “Seeing two precon sessions come together this year. For me, adding to our curriculum and expanding what we do is so valuable to our small programs colleagues. It gives more options.” Rachael Finley adds, “Advocating for small programs in our NIRSA work as well as seeking out opportunities to support the development of small programs, whether brand new or veteran programs. It’s going to be a great year!”
One of the council’s top priorities has been increased programming for small program attendees at NIRSA events. As Alicia Rossow puts it: “I’m excited to continue to expand our offerings for small schools and grow our product.” With two years under its belt, plans for the 2020 Annual Conference include some exciting new features.
The 2020 Small Programs Preconference Workshop will be split into two half-day sessions, each dedicated to a different aspect of running a small recreation program. The morning session, “Small Programs Campus Rec: Where Do I Even Start?,” will coach attendees through implementing a new program and developing key relationships on campus. The afternoon session, “Using the Framework of Health and Wellbeing to Position Your Department on Campus,” focuses on maximizing assessment data and understanding campus-wide goals to support your department. Attendees can register for one or both workshops.
The council is also looking for more ways that staff from small rec programs who are attending the Annual Conference can easily network with other representatives from similarly-sized schools. The Small Programs Social is a great way to start off your Annual Conference experience. At NIRSA 2020, attendees will also be able to continue building their network by taking advantage of a Small Programs Lounge—open for the entirety of conference—where they can mingle and talk with others in similar circumstances.
Members have also shared the importance of developing specific programming and networking at local NIRSA events. Lisa Caldwell says, “I hope we can help with some of the burdens small programs face and ease some of the concerns they have in building their programs on campus.” The council has been working with regional event leads to include the small programs perspective as they build their schedules. Be on the lookout for roundtables, socials, and other opportunities at your local event. And make sure to check the NIRSA website for the list of events that are providing Continuing Education Units (CEU’s).
Although in-person events remain a primary source of professional development for many, the council is aware that small program members often have limited, if any, travel budget. So they’re also actively working to engage peers online. Connect, NIRSA’s online discussion platform, hosts a Small Programs-specific community. There, you can ask questions while knowing that the answers you receive are from a small program perspective. Additionally, the council posts updates and reminders to help small programs get important information. Small programs staff are encouraged to join the community to engage with peers year-round!
The Small Programs Advisory Council is off to a great start—energized and committed to providing high-quality engagement and resources for NIRSA members at small programs.
- For more information, please contact NIRSA Member Services Manager Megan Granholm.