Project Description

NIRSA Elections
NIRSA Elections

Candidate for Canadian Regional Student Leader

Ross Clausi
University of Western Ontario

Biography/Summary Resume

Ross Clausi obtained his post-secondary education at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario for his undergraduate degree in kinesiology with a concentration in teaching, coaching, and management. Ross started off as an intramural referee with the program in his first year and moved forward as a referee-in-chief then later as Intramural Coordinator in the years to follow. He developed a passion for campus recreation through his positive experiences in this roll and decided to pursue a Graduate Degree in Sport Management at Western University. Working as an intramural official, Ross was given the opportunity to attend the NIRSA Ontario Student Lead On conference. This has opened doors and allowed him to further his involvement with campus recreation and NIRSA.

Please provide a statement of your personal views on the role and contributions of collegiate recreation in higher education. In your response describe how collegiate recreation has influenced your development.

In my opinion, collegiate recreation plays an important role in finding the right outlet for students to utilize in order to enhance their student experience. Campus recreation should provide various programs and strategies that allow students to engage in a myriad of ways. Student engagement is a priority so such recreation programs should be tailored to student wants and needs in their respective institutions. On a specific note, collegiate recreation plays a part in enhancing the “university experience.” This is done by helping students meet friends and form new relationships, relieve stress, improve mental and physical health, and find overall enjoyment.

In addition to the health and social benefits of recreation, recreation also manages to help students develop and acquire new skills through their participation. Examples of such skills are time management between events and homework, interpersonal and communication skills, and teamwork and cooperation skills. Being a part of a recreation program is a very important and beneficial thing for collegiate students. Students don’t look back at their university experiences and talk about what they learned in class, they look back at all the fun times they had, playing on an intramural team, or trying a new dance class that they never got the chance to growing up. Campus recreation contributes far more then it is attributed to the development of young leaders entering the workforce and for promoting long-term healthy active living among the population.

Campus recreation has influenced my development in various ways. When I first started my journey into the field, I played intramural sports because I missed playing competitively and I officiated because I wanted to pay off my intramural registration fees to play for free. I quickly realized that I was going to have to find other ways to be active and spend my free time as intramurals only ran for a few hours a week. Like most students, I started going to the gym to lift weights and run on the treadmill. I absolutely hated this, as going to the gym began to feel like a chore and I felt like I was just wasting my time when I should be studying. I started to reflect on what I enjoyed about playing in intramurals and running my own intramural league. I realized I loved working on a team and contributing to a big picture goal, as opposed to my own personal goals. I also loved organizing and doing the administration work for my league and any extra events; this served as the perfect break from doing homework at my desk. Most of all, I love the fast-paced environment where I had to problem solve on the fly in order to make sure others got a chance to participate in recreation. These experiences have helped direct me down the collegiate recreation career path and have helped me find my fitness in my own personal life.

Within the context of the NIRSA Strategic Plan, what area/item would you say is a major issue students face today? Please identify a student driven issue that we currently face today and you would like to address during your term. How will you create solutions in your role on the Student Leadership Team to address it?

I think the most major issue that students are currently facing today is health and wellbeing, specifically mental health. The outcry for services can be heard within institutions across all of Ontario, and many colleges and universities don’t have the funding, nor the resources, to meet the demand. I believe that NIRSA can help campus recreation staff find ways to integrate their programming with wellness initiatives already present on their campuses. By working collaboratively, campus professionals can build interdepartmental and inter-organizational relations that allows their program goals and student mental health to all mutually benefit.

I believe that an effective solution for addressing mental health that NIRSA can feasibly do is have members from different schools share programs that they have run and found success. This could give other schools the opportunity to take that event and apply it to fit their budget and specific student needs. Since the resources and students at different institutions are so diverse, I believe campus collaboration will be pinnacle to program success as the recreational programming should be tailored to various interests and ethnic groups and may not include a sport component.

In describing your contributions to NIRSA (i.e. presentations, volunteering, previous leadership roles, etc,), identify how your involvement and experiences meet the position criteria and qualify you to advocate for and serve the students of the Association.

In truth, my contributions to NIRSA have been quite minimal as of yet. I had the pleasure to be an attendee at my first NIRSA Student Lead On conference in October and enjoyed learning from the various guest speakers and sharing experiences with other schools. That being said, I believe that my involvement within the recreation field and various other leadership roles over the past four years, qualifies me for being able to advocate for other students within Canada. Some of the responsibilities I had working in my leadership positions were: creating inclusive programming and events for first year students, organizing and supervising various intramural leagues, and managing hiring and training intramural staff. Working in these various positions has taught me many important life lessons such as active listening to others so they understand I’m being attentive when they speak, being autonomous with my work to make sure it is complete by its due date, and, most importantly, respecting others opinions and choices as there are often many different ways to complete the same task. I hope that I can use these experiences and skills I’ve learned to best advocate for the Association and contribute greatly in this position.

As a Student Leader within NIRSA, you have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the field of collegiate recreation. With a focus on Student Member Recruitment & Retention, and Student Development what skills, talents, and perspectives would you bring to the Student Leadership Team?

I have many strengths and skills to bring to the student membership team. One such skill that I can bring to the table is my creativity and innovation when problem solving. I am able to generate unique ideas and strategies and apply them to different issues and assess the potential outcomes and make an informed decision. Another skill that I bring to the table for the Student Leadership Team is that I have various professional attributes and demeanor. This includes my time management and organizational skills, work ethic, positive attitude, as well as my commitment to continuous learning and self-improvement. In addition to these skills, I also am a very extroverted individual with strong public speaking skills. I can help utilize these skills to help grow the membership within the Canadian Region by reaching out and connecting with institutions who have not yet registered with NIRSA.

NIRSA Elections: Ross Clausi