Project Description

NIRSA Elections
NIRSA Elections

Candidate for NIRSA Student Leader

Asna Rupani
Illinois State University

Biography/Summary Resume

Asna Rupani found her way into campus recreation at California State University, Bakersfield where she completed a degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise science. Starting her campus recreation career as a member services associate, she quickly moved through leadership becoming a student manager on duty shortly after. She navigated the challenges of college while helping her peers through their own and found herself motivated to do more within this field. She attended her first Region VI Regional Conference and found her passion. After this first conference, she wanted to be more involved and help empower other students like she had been empowered by her mentor. She began volunteering at conferences, attending as many as she could, and even received the J. Michael Dunn Endowed Scholarship for the Annual Conference. She finds herself at Illinois State University now pursuing her master’s degree in sport management and serving as the Graduate Assistant of Facilities wanting to further her involvement in this industry that she calls home.

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.

Campus recreation is a department in higher education that isn’t given the credit it deserves. As campus recreation professionals, hundreds of hours of time and effort are put into the development of the students that we cater to, whether they be student team members or the participants that we serve every day. Student fitness centers across numerous universities serve as the home for fitness and wellness Students, faculty/staff, and on occasion community members attend programming and open recreation to better themselves as individuals.

Campus recreation houses various program areas that has a home for everyone in either outdoor recreation, competitive sports, group fitness classes, wellness workshops, and aquatic activities to name a few. Let alone the development that we provide student team members through their collegiate years. The skills students learn through campus recreation are transferrable to all careers, and having a position in campus recreation prepares them for their futures. The goal for campus recreation professionals is to ensure our students leave our doors ready and equipped with the professional skills to be successful in their careers. This could not ring anymore more true for myself.

Beginning my career with campus recreation as a freshmen, I was not aware of all of the positive changes my life was going to encounter. I was empowered as a leader and as a student to develop my leadership and professional skills on a daily basis. I was given opportunities to attend regional NIRSA conferences, annual NIRSA conferences, and participant in student workshops to further my development. I also had the opportunity to become a leader amongst my peers to help navigate them through their collegiate years. If it had not been for the mentors I encountered in my journey through campus recreation, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon this niche community of like-minded individuals that I have decided is my home.

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?

An issue that students face today is the pressure to be academically, physically, and mentally well. Through the NIRSA Strategic Plan, there is an initiative to help be the driving force in integrating health and wellbeing. Students are constantly being told that they must stand out in leadership, academics, involvement on top of being a physically and mentally sound individual. Through the initiative and as my potential role on the Student Leadership Team I would address this by encouraging universities to focus on the dimensions of wellness when programming for students. I would also help address this by ensuring that the Region III State Workshops and Student Lead On had health and wellbeing at the forefront of programs and proposals. Another solution to this issue that students are facing is making sure that every NIRSA institution in our region is providing and highlighting the resources that are available to their students. By doing this, we are not only promoting health and wellbeing but giving it a very defined home within campus recreation to make sure the Region III is aligning with the overall NIRSA Strategic Plan.

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.

Throughout my career in NIRSA, I have served as a volunteer at all the conferences that I have attended. Whether that be as a session monitor, helping with registration, or helping students navigate the Career Services Center at the Annual Conference. I also am a member of the planning committee for the Region III Student Lead On as a member of the Professional Development Committee. Through these experiences, I have gained a better understanding of the true impact that NIRSA has on every student that walks through our doors. As an undergraduate student, I was able to serve as a student manager and help students communicate with their peers as well as with professionals and work as a team.

Being given the opportunity to hold these positions and volunteer when I can, I feel as though I have already began my further development in the areas that are required of a member on the Student Leadership Team. Being a previous member of Region VI, I have seen and experienced the different cultures and environments of different regions. I have also seen and worked with different populations of students being at a non-traditional university for my undergraduate degree and being at a traditional four-year for my graduate degree. With working with the diverse student populations, I have found a passion for empowering, developing, and motivating students to get involved with campus recreation.

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?

During my undergraduate years, I was not only involved with campus recreation but also through my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta. Serving as the Panhellenic Affairs Vice President, I was able to advocate for the positive impacts that membership in Greek life has to offer. Being able to navigate the relationship between Greek life and campus recreation provided me with a unique perspective on campus collaborations. Serving as the Administrative Vice President, I was able to further develop my skills of risk management, member recruitment and retention, and member development. This allowed me to gain a wholistic approach to membership that I would love to bring to the Student Leadership Team.

Working with my peers as a leader really gave me the passion that I have now for student development. Having been the treasurer of a non-profit club, Thirst Project, I was also given another perspective of different students on a college campus. Working with student athletes to ensure their facilities were what they needed to perform to the best of their ability gave me the opportunity to see through the lens of another type of student in higher education. With all of the involvement I had during my undergraduate career, I have a wholistic view of the collegiate student demographic and understand the hurdles, challenges, and tribulations that they face. Applying the experience that I have with a diverse student population, I have a firm grasp on how to tackle barriers to student participation, recruitment, and retention in campus recreation and as NIRSA student members.

NIRSA Elections: Asna Rupani