NIRSA Awards

Creative Excellence Awards

Creative Excellence Awards

Collegiate recreation students and professionals are among the most innovative marketers of events and programs on college and university campuses.

We have all seen (or helped to create) fun and effective campaigns promoting recreational sports, fitness, facilities, and programs.

The NIRSA Creative Excellence Awards recognize NIRSA Members’ outstanding accomplishments in marketing. Honor the exceptional efforts of your marketing team by submitting an application for the NIRSA Creative Excellence Awards.

Each year award recipients are recognized through a variety of mediums, including press releases, social media, and various digital displays and announcements at conferences throughout the year.

In addition to receiving a beautiful laser-etched, spire award, the winners also have their respective campaigns displayed on the NIRSA website.

Applications are due November 16, 2021

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To be eligible for nomination, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be current NIRSA Institutional, Professional, or Student Member (freelance or consultant work may be entered in the appropriate division through the member institution for which it was produced).
  • Entries must be printed, produced, or published within the fiscal year July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.
  • Each item may be entered into only one category (exception: an item may be entered into the Comprehensive Publications Program category as well as one other category).
  • Applicants may not serve on the panel of judges.

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria vary for each of the following nine categories.

Added for 2020

COVID Communication Campaign

Entries in this category focus on COVID-related safety protocols for students and staff. Must include at least three separate touchpoints (i.e. video, social media, signage, web presence, brochures, etc).

Comprehensive Brochure & Facility Publication

This category is for brochures or publications that cover a thorough and wide variety of programming within your department. This category also covers publications that promote specific facilities within the department. Typical entries include program guides, magazines, annual reports, building-brochures, grand opening materials or publications highlighting facility expansions.

Integrated Marketing Campaign

An Integrated Marketing Campaign is judged similarly to an advertising campaign. Three or more separate pieces united with a common look, feel, or message are required. Most often, campaigns will utilize multiple media including print, web, t-shirts, and promotional items or giveaways. Some past successful entries include a departmental branding effort, a “Fit It In” campaign to promote exercise and well-being, and a facility grand opening campaign.

Social Media

This category is for the promotion of your department or programs via social media platforms. There are no specific content or platform guidelines, but entries must describe how content was modified for each platform while working together to create a unifying message, and include analytics such as engagement.

Programming Publication

This category is for publications that promote a specific program within your department. Typical entries include camp registration forms, fitness or intramural sports brochures, or membership grabbers. This category also includes special event programming.

Large Scale Signage

Includes any major signage you have in your indoor or outdoor facilities, or elsewhere for promoting events you coordinate. Typical entries in this category are permanent building signage, decorative art, or banners. If available installation photos along with final display would be helpful to see.

Audiovisual Promotion

This category is for videos or other audiovisual presentations that promote your department or programs in some way. Also includes radio commercials.

Student Publication

This category is for students to put forward their most creative print publications. There are no specific guidelines as to content; work may include information on facilities, programming, or services. Submissions can range from multi-page publications to signage (fliers, posters, etc.) Entries in this category will be judged only against other students.

Student Digital Presentation

This category is for students to put forward their most creative digital presentations. This can include blogs, social networking, interactive message boards, web site, audiovisual (web casting), videos, etc. Entries in this category will be judged only against other students.


This group is for functional websites. Sites can be for your department or for a specific event, but must be working and navigable in multiple browsers.

Entry Fee & Payment Information

Entry fee for Institutional, Professional and Student Members: $60 per entry

  • You can pay for your entries online using Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover credit cards. A link to for payment can be found at the bottom of the application. Applications are not considered complete until payment is received.
  • If you wish to pay with a credit card via telephone or by check, please contact our Billing Coordinator at 541-766-8211 after submitting your application.

Previous Recipients

2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021

For More Info

Contact NIRSA Member Relations Manager, Sarah Leskovec, or Creative Excellence Awards Committee Chair, Laura Munroe.