The entire landscape we, as campus recreation professionals, work in is shaped by legislation and policy at the federal, state, and local levels. Whether it’s the Affordable Care Act or proposed Fair Labor Standards Act changes shifting the employment landscape for NIRSA’s professionals; debates about affordability, immigration, and Title IX molding the makeup and experiences of the students we serve; or policy at the statehouse level dictating the resources we have available to meet the needs of those students, there isn’t a facet of our profession that goes untouched by government and policy.
See related: The Department of Labor releases a new overtime rule
NIRSA’s Government Affairs Committee, then, is critical in serving as our profession’s “eyes” on this changing landscape. It allows us as an association to figure out how to best continue fulfilling our mission, living up to our values, and providing the opportunities to recreate that we do.
One of my key motivations for serving on this committee is working to ensure that the opportunities we provide in collegiate rec are both available and viable for either our participants or those considering entering the field—paying it forward, more or less. To that end, topics like access and college affordability or the various FLSA proposals and their potential impacts on GAs and newer professionals are the types of things I’m excited to be able to study in-depth and have a voice within NIRSA on.
I believe this committee’s work addresses topics and issues that are fundamental to the future of our profession (and higher education in general). Our universities, departments, and programs don’t function in independent vacuums, but instead exist as part of a legal and political ecosystem. Rather than ignore that or simply leave it to others, I wanted to have a voice at the table and help shake how NIRSA navigates and responds to that ecosystem. Serving on this committee for the past few years has given me the opportunity to do just that, as well as connect with other folks within NIRSA who are just as committed to that same goal.
- For more information, contact NIRSA Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships, Erin O’Sullivan.