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.
My experience in collegiate recreation began as an employee trying to make a few extra bucks and as a student eager to continue playing sports. As a student employee, I quickly recognized the benefits, separate from money, that the job was providing me with. I was learning transferable skills, such as conflict management, gaining leadership experience, and also forming relationships with mentors. As a student athlete, I joined a club sport, in which I met my best friends, stayed active, and again learned how to lead as the captain of the team. As the end of my undergraduate career was quickly approaching, I began to reflect on what influenced my success inside and outside of the classroom. I soon realized that my success was largely attributed to my roles as both an employee and as a participant in collegiate recreation. My story is just one example of the millions of students whose college success has been influenced in some way by collegiate recreation.
While it significantly influenced my college career, collegiate recreation has the power to influence students’ lives in various capacities. Any student has the opportunity to be involved in collegiate recreation, whether that be as someone looking to try something new, an experienced athlete, or as someone in need of money and experience. Collegiate recreation contributes to the holistic wellbeing of college students as a source of friendships, stress reliever, and so much more.
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?
Within the context of the NIRSA Strategic Plan, I believe students do not truly understand the impact of the campus recreation profession, and further the impact of the field. With that said, if students do not understand the impact, how should they be expected to go into the field, let alone advocate for or advance the understanding of campus recreation? At the same time, how should they be expected to advocate for NIRSA if they are often unaware of how to advocate for themselves? I believe that it begins by teaching and helping students advocate for themselves, and then by expressing the significance of the profession. As a member of the Student Leadership Team, I would use this role to help students learn self-advocacy techniques, whether that be through formal settings, such as Student Lead On, or through informal discussions. The students’ understanding of campus recreation can be addressed by other students who have a greater understanding of the field, such as those on the Student Leadership Team. This would help students as it is impactful to hear the stories of your peers and how campus recreation impacted their lives. Once students are able to advocate for themselves, tell their own stories, and gain an understanding of the impact campus recreation has, they will then be able to help “amplify the voice of campus recreation.”
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 undergraduate career and now as a graduate assistant, I have continuously sought out opportunities to be involved in NIRSA. As an undergraduate student, I volunteered for three years for the NIRSA Mid-Atlantic Flag Football and Basketball tournaments. As part of this experience, I was able to work with other students and professionals to ensure the best experience for the officials, clinicians, and teams. As a result, I was able to connect with these individuals and develop invaluable relationships and skills.
Additionally, I had the opportunity to present at the 2018 NIRSA Region I Conference, where I discussed, along with my supervisor at the time, organizational culture and how it leads to success within collegiate recreation. In preparation for this presentation, I spoke with fellow student employees about the impact they believed campus recreation had on them and utilized their opinions to inform the attendees on the student perspective. Through this presentation, I was able to spark conversation amongst students and professionals about organizational culture. This experience allowed me to have in-depth conversations with the attendees about the topic and even employ some of their ideas in my undergraduate program. Now as a graduate student, I have continued to volunteer for the NIRSA Championship Series as tournament staff for the NIRSA Region I Soccer tournament and as a member of the officials sub-committee for the NIRSA Mid-Atlantic Flag Football Tournament. I take advantage of these experiences to learn from other campus recreation students and professionals and once more use this knowledge to benefit the students I work with.
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?
As a freshman student employee in campus recreation, I did not understand the scope of collegiate recreation and NIRSA. It was not until I became a supervisor in my program that I began to explore the magnitude of NIRSA and how integral the organization is to higher education institutions. I believe there is a lack of knowledge of NIRSA amongst students and this leads to lower student member recruitment and retention. With that said, I believe that universities across the country can easily close this knowledge gap.
As a student leader within NIRSA, I would use my position to encourage institutions to educate their students from the start about NIRSA and all the organization has to offer. In my current role as a graduate assistant, I have worked with colleagues within the department to include education about the organization into our staff training at the beginning of the semester in order to inform students about NIRSA. In addition, I would use my interpersonal skills to form relationships with students and professionals as a way to encourage students to not only join the organization, but also become more involved in the organization. I would encourage them to attend NIRSA-related events, whether that be by attending conferences or tournaments. Attendance at such events would further their development. I believe that encouraging further involvement within the organization will lead to the continued engagement of students in NIRSA. Essentially with the encouragement of increased involvement in the organization, students are more likely to remain members; student development goes hand in hand with student member recruitment and retention.