2015 Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Conference

February 19-21, 2015 • University of Central Florida

first-time attendees
schools represented
educational sessions
This event is over. Follow us on Twitter at @nirsalive to find out when the 2016 Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Conference will be announced.

Get Your Foot in the Door in NIRSA

The Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Conference provides minority students the tools and connections they need to advance their careers in the active field of collegiate recreation.

About the ERSL Conference

In 1992, the office of intramural sports at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale established the first Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders conference to encourage strong future leadership minority students in the field of collegiate recreation.

Since then, the goal of the Conference has been to provide minority students interested in careers in collegiate recreation with the tools and connections they need to succeed in the dynamic field they have chosen to pursue. With educational programming and opportunities for mentorship and career networking, the Conference strives to provide the skills and knowledge needed for young minorities to gain meaningful careers in the field of collegiate recreation.

The Conference hopes to encourage diversity in our association in order to best reflect the populations and demographics that NIRSA members serve.

Preconference Events

The following preconference events take place February 19, 2015.

UCF offers a surf program to meet everyone’s needs. Whether you have never surfed before and always dreamed of learning or if you just want to improve your existing skills, UCF has the coaching that will enable you to reach your goals. *UCF will provide all the equipment, you will just need to bring sunscreen and a swimsuit.
Focuses on the group as a whole by presenting problem-solving scenarios that require and develop teamwork, trust, leadership and communication skills. The group finds success through working together and depending upon the member’s strengths.
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) offers a fun, relaxing way to play on the water. With a minimum of gear, you can paddle ocean surf, lakes and rivers — no waves required. *UCF will provide all the equipment, you will just need to bring sunscreen and a swimsuit.

Registration Fees

Fees Early Bird: On or Before December 1, 2014 Between December 2, 2014 and February 13, 2015 Onsite
Professional from a Member Institution $100 $125 $150
Professional from a Nonmember Institution $125 $150 $175
Student from aMember Institution $65 $90 $100
Student from aNonmember Institution $90 $115 $140
Retired/Emeritus Member $100 $125 $150
Associate Nonmember – Not Exhibiting $125 $150 $175
One Day Registration:(members only)
Professional Member $50 $75
Student Member $32.50 $45
Associate Member $50 $75
Preconference Events, February 19, 2015
Learn To Surf $0
High Ropes Course $0
Stand Up Paddleboard Class $0

Hotel Accommodations

The Hilton Garden Inn Orlando East/UCF Area
1959 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL 32826
Phone (407) 992-5000
Fax (407) 992-7000

Room rates are $107 a night (+ taxes and fees) for double occupancy. The group block designation is ERSL; to reserve your room either click this link or call the hotel phone number above. You must reserve the room by February 1, 2015 in order to receive the ERSL room rate. Hotel amenities for attendees include complimentary breakfast, parking, and WiFi.

Upon registration, NIRSA encourages all Conference attendees to reserve their hotel accommodations within the NIRSA room block. NIRSA relies on strong room block usage to secure ample meeting space, increase negotiation leverage for future institutes, and offset event expenses.

Airport Shuttle Times

The Host Committee will be using vans from the University of Central Florida to shuttle attendees to and from the airport at the various times listed below. If you wish to participate in the complementary shuttle service please contact Matt Dunigan with the following information; arrival time and date, departure time and date, as well as the name of the airline.

Airport to Hilton Hotel

Wednesday, February 18 at 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm
Thursday, February 19 at 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm

Hilton Hotel to Airport

Saturday, February 20 at 6:00pm
Sunday, February 21 at 5:00am, 7:00am, 9:00am

University of Central Florida to Airport

Saturday, February 20 at Noon & 2:00pm

Schedule of Events

Attendees of the Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Conference will learn about new career opportunities in the field of collegiate recreation through an engaging blend of informational sessions and presentations in a supportive learning environment. The educational and professional opportunities at the conference are both broad-based and in-depth, from mock interviews with established collegiate recreation administrators to presentations on the changing landscape of recreational sports careers in our current economy.


Payment is accepted via check, money order, or credit card. If paying by credit card, payment is due with the registration form. You may include a purchase order number on your registration form to indicate a forthcoming check; however, a purchase order is not considered payment and no purchase orders will be accepted after February 13, 2015.

If you are paying by check or money order and wish to qualify for the early-bird discount, your check or money order must be postmarked by December 1, 2014. Checks and money orders must be payable to “NIRSA,” and foreign checks must be imprinted “US Funds.”

You will be emailed a receipt/confirmation within 15 days of receipt of your registration at NIRSA Headquarters which will also include a personal link to the hotel reservation system. If you do not receive an email, please contact the NIRSA Headquarters at (541) 766-8211. An email address is required to receive a receipt/confirmation of registration.

Refund Policy for Cancellations

Cancellation of registration for NIRSA educational events and refund requests must be made in writing (letter, fax, email) to: Cancellation, c/o Billing Coordinator, NIRSA, 4185 SW Research Way, Corvallis, OR 97333-1067; fax: (541) 766-8284; email: billing@nirsa.org

Fees will be refunded, minus a $25 processing fee, if cancellation resulting in a refund is received in writing not later than December 30, 2014. After December 30, 2014 fees are non-refundable. All refunds will be processed after the conference. Changes/substitutions are allowed free of charge
Extenuating circumstances may warrant exceptions to the Refund Policy. For a review of a specific refund amount, please contact NIRSA Billing Coordinator, Megan Granholm.

Services for Persons with Disabilities/Dietary Restrictions

If you have any ADA needs, or Dietary Restrictions please contact the 2015 ERSLC planning committee.

Photograph & Video Content Ownership

Photographers will be taking photographs during this event and all its related activities. All photographs taken during the this event may be published and used for the Emerging Recreational Sports, NIRSA, and its agents to illustrate and promote the ERSLC experience. If you would like not to be photographed during this event please notify the 2015 ERSLC planning committee.

Responsibility Code

Recognizing that many people will take advantage of the opportunity for socializing and alcohol consumption, the Board of Directors, and the 2015 Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Committee actively encourage responsible decision-making and healthy choices. Supporting this policy, non-alcoholic beverages will be offered at all NIRSA sponsored receptions. In accordance with State Law, no alcohol will be served to anyone under age 21.

Non-smoking policy

For the comfort and health of attendees, smoking is not permitted at any NIRSA function. This includes general sessions, educational sessions, workshops, and socials.

What to Wear

Suggested Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Conference attire is business casual. This includes khaki slacks, polo-type shirts, blazers, or sweaters.

Mock Interviews

Mock interviews/résumé critique

As with every skill you’ve ever learned, you have to learn a technique and then practice, practice, practice! A mock interview will not only help you perfect your technique, but it will also allow you to get valuable feedback and coaching on your performance. Working with a professional and getting feedback on your performance in a mock interview is similar to working with a sports coach to learn how to improve your game — both will enable you to learn where your strengths lie and where you may need work to improve your performance. Time spent practicing will assist you greatly in either situation. An added bonus to preparing and practicing is the self-confidence you will gain. In today’s competitive job market, you must be prepared and in top shape.

What to expect at the 2015 mock interviews

This year the mock interview process will take on the form of “Speed Dating.” This year’s mock interviews will proceed as follows:

Before we begin the Mock Interview process everyone (both students and professionals) who are participating will gather in one specific location. At this time we will be sure that everyone is paired up, then we will go over the instructions on how everything will take place. After providing directions everyone will head to our designated Mock Interview area. Once everyone is seated the process will begin. The interviewer will have 5 minutes to ask questions in an interview format. Following the 5 minutes of interviewing there will be 3 minutes of follow-up about the résumé/interviewing techniques. After the 8 total minutes have been completed the interviewee will move on the next station and the interviewer will remain in place. We will provide about 1 minute of rotation time so everyone can get to their next interview on time. After the 1 minute break we will begin the process all over again until 45 minutes have passed. We will then return to the room in which we started where there will be time for debriefing. Students will have a chance to ask the professionals for tips and thoughts. The debriefing process will continue for 30 minutes providing about 10 minutes before the first ed session.

A timing device and bell/buzzer will be used to keep everyone on time. Warnings will be sent out 10 seconds prior to end of interviews.

Sound interesting?

If you’re interested in participating in or conducting a résumé critique or mock interview, please contact Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Conference Program Committee Chair Ashley Dent.

Those interested in participating as interviewees need to submit his or her resume to Ashley Dent by February 2, 2015.

Take a Student to Lunch

In hopes of increasing the networking skills of our students, we have come up with the idea of “Networking Bingo” for which we will need your cooperation. Each professional will answer five questions at the time of registration. The answers will be given to the students attending the conference, each student receiving a different set of answers. Their job is to take those answers and find the correct professional member. Our hope is that they meet and talk with as many of you as possible to find out information about you and to network while at the conference. Please try to remember your answers.

If you have any questions about this activity, please contact the Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Planning Committee and we will explain in more detail.

The following questions are the five that are asked when you register:

  • What is your current position and how long have you been in that role?
  • What made you fall in love with Recreational Sports?
  • Who has been a great mentor(s) to you throughout your professional career?
  • Where and what year was your first National NIRSA conference?
  • Where and what year was your first Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Conference?


With Service as one of our association’s strategic values, the 2015 ERSL Conference presents its attendees with volunteer opportunities in order to serve during the conference. Session monitors and registration managers are the two volunteer positions that this conference offers over its three days in Orlando, Florida. Through this act of service, volunteers will be able to interact and connect with colleagues, get involved in very important capacities, and assist in the overall operation and success of the conference. Please contact Dexter Shorter or Tim Collins if you are interested in volunteering during the 2015 ERSL Conference or for more details.

2015 Emerging Recreational Sports Leaders Committee

  • Jackie McCarty, Co-Chair, University of California, Davis
  • Charles Anderson, Co-Chair, The Ohio State University
  • Ashley Dent, Program Committee Chair, Florida International University
  • Thomas Deus, Program Committee, The University of Southern Mississippi
  • Barry Greene Jr., Program Committee, California State University, San Bernardino
  • Dexter Shorter, HBCU/Minority Recruitment Committee Chair, The Ohio State University
  • Timothy Collins, HBCU/Minority Recruitment Committee, University of California, Riverside
  • Candice Douglas, Hospitality Committee Chair, Western Kentucky University
  • Zena Perthone, Hospitality Committee, Old Dominion University
  • Mark Dixon, Hospitality Committee, Jackson State University
  • Eric Fletcher, Social Committee Chair, The Ohio State University
  • Andrea Snead, Social Committee, University of Central Florida
  • Cherodie Cannon, Marketing/Public Relations/Social Media Committee Chair, Louisiana State University
  • Daniel Walker, Marketing/Public Relations/Social Media Committee, University of California, Davis
  • Matthew Dunigan, Host Committee, University of Central Florida
  • Manica Pierrette, Host Committee, University of Central Florida
  • Scott Mauro, Host Committee, University of Central Florida