As the leading association for campus recreation, NIRSA continues to provide value for members and to innovate and impact the industry by intentionally seeking highly skilled and diverse leaders who are committed to advancing our vision of inspiring the development of healthy people and healthy communities. By blending the knowledge, insight, and unique perspectives of our leaders, we will accelerate the depth and breadth of our impact.
NIRSA is comprised of three entities: the Association, led by the NIRSA Board and established as the parent organization, and two subsidiary organizations: the NIRSA Foundation, our philanthropic arm, and the NIRSA Services Corporation, our innovation and business arm. This unique structure allows three discrete leadership groups to focus on distinct areas that ultimately bring value to NIRSA, its members, and the profession of campus recreation.
All three entities operate under one strategic plan and one set of strategic values. In the coming year, all three boards will be involved in creating the 2021–2024 strategic plan, which will set the direction for all three entities to operate successfully, bring value to members, and make progress on our vision in light of the new reality brought on by the current global pandemic as well as in response to other trends in higher education.
NIRSA Board of Directors
At a recent meeting, the NIRSA Board of Directors appointed Andrea Snead, Assistant Director of Risk Management, Sport Clubs, and Inclusive Recreation at the University of Central Florida, and Brian Smith, Associate Director of Recreational Sports and acting Program Director of Competitive Sports at UCLA, to serve as annual directors for the 2020–2021 leadership year.
Andrea has been a member of NIRSA since 2010 and is the recipient of the 2020 NIRSA Juliette Moore Distinguished Leadership Award for her work with both the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Commission and with the Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders (ERSL) Committee. She is also a member of the NIRSA 2021 Program Committee and the NIRSA Championship Series Assessment Work Team.
Her passion and leadership regarding EDI—while also setting the stage for adaptive sports to have a voice—coupled with her drive to break down both gender and racial barriers for all people brings an essential lens to the NIRSA Board.
Brian has been a member of NIRSA since 2003. He served on the NIRSA Soccer Championships Staff, as the Tournament Director for the Region VI Flag Football Tournament, and was appointed to a three-year term on the Member Network where he served as chair in his final year.
His capacity to manage and produce large scale special events as well as his being a leader in the emerging esports arena will help to position NIRSA as a forward-thinking association that responds to emerging trends and needs in the industry.
“I am both excited and anxious for the new members to join the Board. Excited because I think we have a strong and diverse leadership team, yet anxious because of what this pandemic has now created for us,” says David Davenport, NIRSA Board President-Designee and Director of University Recreation at Austin Peay State University. “The year ahead will be extremely challenging as we are now forced to address and accept new norms in our daily lives and recreation programs while holding true to our personal and professional values.” He goes on to add, “As our Board leadership year launches, we will be forced to address new areas of concerns from our members, institutions, and communities. By design, we must practice our ‘nimbleness’ and support our members with opportunities yet to be fully realized.”
Andrea and Brian join President-Elect Mila Padgett, Director of Campus Recreation & Wellness at the University of South Carolina-Aiken, and Nigel Harris, Director of Programs & Facilities at Kennesaw State University, as incoming Board members. Their terms begin May 1. Returning Board members include David Davenport; Cara Lucia, Associate Professor of Sport at Elon University; Jocelyn Hill, Director of Recreational Sports & Fitness at American University; and Derek Hottell, Director of Recreational Sports at Virginia Commonwealth University.
NIRSA Foundation Board of Directors
The NIRSA Foundation Board of Directors begins the 2020–2021 leadership year with four new Board members: Maxwell Miller, Assistant Athletic Director of Recreation & Wellness at Swarthmore College; Larry Mellinger, Director of Campus Recreation & Wellness at Elon University; Marti Tomlin, Director of Recreation at the University of Richmond; and Lauren Brown, Director of Student Wellbeing at Regis University.
“I am really excited for this new Board to begin its work and to build off the successes of previous Boards. But first off I want to let you know that I’m thinking about you during this difficult and uncertain time,” says Brent Harrison, NIRSA Foundation Board President-Elect and Associate Director for Recreation Programs at the University of Oregon. “From my most recent experiences, and being on numerous NIRSA virtual calls, I am proud of the way the NIRSA family has responded to the rapid shift in the way we serve students and our members while at the same time having to juggle life at home.”
He adds, “From the standpoint of the Foundation, I want you to know that our focus is on your care and wellbeing—as you know, these are far from normal times. I’m looking forward to onboarding our new Board virtually and excited for them to meet and continue the amazing work of our returning Board with the goal of positioning ourselves for success in the year to come. Be well, everyone!”
Returning Board members include Lexi Chaput, Senior Assistant Director of Recreational Sport Programs, Camps & Development at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Liz Henry, Director of Sports and Rec Clubs at the University of California San Diego; Shomari Kee, Director of Campus Recreation at Northern Kentucky University; Randall Ford, Associate Director-Development at The University of Texas at Austin; and Linda Knight, Director of Health & Wellness at the College of William & Mary. Additionally, Janice DeMonsi, Director of Recreation at Santa Clara University, is returning for a one-year term as Past Board Member.
NIRSA Services Corporation (NSC) Board of Directors
The NIRSA Services Corporation Board of Directors begins the 2020–2021 leadership year with two new Board members and a newly formed innovation advisory position. Felicia Tittle, Executive Director at Duke University, and Dave Williams, Executive Director at Rutgers University, will serve three-year terms on the NIRSA Services Corporation Board. Tim Mertz, Senior Director at Health Fitness, will serve as the NSC’s first innovation advisor. This is a new position the NSC is piloting in the 2020–2021 year.
“As the NSC enters a new year, I’m excited to work with such creative colleagues focused on advancing NIRSA’s entrepreneurial spirit while providing new services and opportunities for members. We will center our work on the Innovation Framework that was created this past year and continue to grow the Get Activated program while promoting Championship Series and professional and student development through those unique events,” says Jennifer Speer, NSC Board Vice-President and Senior Director of Communications, Memberships, and Development at The University of Texas at Austin. “With recent events in the world, we have seen the innovative spirit that NIRSA members possess and we look forward to supporting our members through new and continuing NSC initiatives.” She adds, “We are also so excited to have Tim Mertz stay on as our new Innovation Advisor. In this role, entrepreneurial experience and knowledge of the market will be used to advance innovative ideas.”
Returning NIRSA Services Corporation Board members include Jennifer Speer; Mike Edwards, Senior Director of Campus Recreation at the Georgia Institute of Technology; Stephanie McAlpine, Associate Director in Student Affairs at The University of Texas at Arlington; Michele Schwitzky, Senior Associate Director of Campus Rec at the University of Arizona; and Jeff Calhoun, Director of Marketing & Business at Central Michigan University.
Please join me in welcoming these incoming and returning NIRSA leaders and extending your appreciation for their volunteer service to the Association.