Alexis Gross began working for the Department of Campus Recreation her first year at Montclair State University while pursuing a degree in business administration and data analysis. She initially worked as a facilities attendant and lifeguard, but quickly branched out into a number of different roles. Over the course of four years, Alexis held a variety of positions within the department including head building manager, lifeguard instructor, water safety instructor, outdoor adventure guide, and was one of the first individuals to serve on new event programming committees developed. She was passionate about ensuring the success of these programs and assisted in any way she could which led to her being invited to her first NIRSA conference her junior year. This past year she strived to be more involved, volunteering to be a session monitor at this year’s Region I Conference. Alexis is continuing to pursue her goal of becoming a director of campus recreation by attending Rowan University where she serves as Graduate Coordinator of Facilities and Operations.
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.
Collegiate recreation altered every aspect of my college experience. Both my personal and professional development were advanced rapidly by my experiences. Attending and working events in all realms of collegiate recreation opened my eyes to how much DIY activities help me to de-stress and how rewarding it is to assist students in events and see their excitement when they have finished a project. I was one of those students who came into college viewing the recreation center as “just a gym.” I left college knowing it is a department with programs inclusive of all individuals and abilities. I now intend to continue on a career path in campus recreation because I enjoy both the development it provides for me and assisting in other students’ professional and personal development.
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 are 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?
Currently, we are experiencing unprecedented issues nationally and globally. Now more than ever there is a need to reach out to students and ensure they are regulating their mental health in ways outside of just participating in a sport or working out. Collegiate recreation offers an outlet for students as well as an opportunity to network with peers, and NIRSA’s strategic plan mentions that we should be evolving our brand’s identity and integrating the approach to health and wellbeing. In my roles throughout campus recreation I have spent a great deal of time on event planning that would allow for individuals of all abilities to participate. I would like to network with the other regional and state student leaders as well as the NIRSA committees on how we can educate universities to incorporate more events that go outside the scope of intramurals and personal training, as well as advocating for these programs. Collegiate recreation should provide a wealth of events which can influence students who think of the recreation center as a place for them to expand their horizons, instead of just as a gym. This would increase the number of connections a student has and could aid in mental health and overall retention because more individuals are being reached and having positive campus experiences.
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 the past, I have attended three total NIRSA conferences and made an effort to volunteer at each. I most recently contributed by being a session monitor for the Region I Conference. I also have offered to be on the committee for the NIRSA Creative Excellence Awards. The position of NIRSA Student Leader requires one to assist student leaders across the country and I have always tried my best to get to know the student leaders in my region and offer to help in any way I can. The position also requires my focus to be on conferences and professional development for students. I have not had experience directly in the world of NIRSA with this, but I did host a professional development seminar at Montclair State University and assisted in the planning and production of the New Jersey Parks and Recreation Association Annual Conference and the presidential induction ceremony. I believe I have the ability to keep in contact with all members of the NIRSA network and assist any regional leaders however they may need.
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?
Through my time in campus recreation I always made an effort to create a comfortable and safe space for students. I believe collegiate recreation is designed to reach all students and offer opportunities to break out of one’s comfort zone. It should serve to provide all sorts of events. I have worked at two institutions throughout my time in the field working with individuals, and I enjoy being in a mentorship role in order to assist in the progression and development of student employees with interest in the field. This is what was done for me and this is what I strive to provide for students. As a member of the Student Leadership Team I would provide this mentorship as best as possible for the other student leaders and also be open to receiving guidance from the Board of Directors or previous student leaders.