Lashica Thomas is currently the Assistant Director of Operations and Marketing in the Campus Recreation Department at Columbus State University. She previously served as Facility Coordinator over Daily Operations at Georgia Southern University from 2006–2012. In her current role, she is responsible for the daily operations of the 106,000 sq. ft. facility. She directly oversees two full-time coordinators in the areas of fitness and aquatics. As the Assistant Director, she is the second in command in the absence of the Campus Recreation Director. As a member of the campus recreation full-time professional team she serves on several campus committees such as the Diversity Committee, Student Affairs Assessment Committee, Staff Council Chair, Student Affairs Professional Development Committee, and the Safety Committee.
Lashica has been a NIRSA member since 2003 and has served on several committees and work teams. In 2013, she served as the GRSA State Director and hosted a state workshop at Columbus State University in 2014. She is committed to NIRSA and the impact it has on a campus environment.
Lashica is a proud mom of two beautiful little girls, Taela and Skyla. She coaches her oldest’s soccer team and the youngest just turned two. Lashica enjoys reading, playing soccer, and living an active lifestyle.
What do you see as opportunities in collegiate recreation and our Association? How would you collaborate with the Member Network team to address these issues?
The issues I see facing our Association is how campus recreation programs are receiving funds. Majority of state funds are being allocated by RPG (Retention, Progression and Graduation). So how do campus recreation programs show we are invaluable in achieving the high results in RPG? This means having sound measures and tools in place that universities can utilize and show upper administration their worth. Establishing the system of standards early will set our field up for success. Being a part of the Member Network team, we can work together and research the tools needed to make them available to the NIRSA community.
Our Association must continue to stay ahead on the technology front. We must strive to find ways for our members to utilize technology so that it enhances our profession. As a team member, realizing that budgetary constraints exist so attending conferences may not be an option for our members. We must seek solutions such as distant learning technology during presentations to make up the gap.
In describing your contributions to NIRSA, identify how your involvement and experiences meet the position criteria and qualify you to serve NIRSA in this role.
I joined NIRSA in 2002 and was completely blown away by this wonderful kept secret called campus recreation. After one conference, I was hooked and wanted to get involved in as much as possible. My first opportunity to serve the NIRSA was in my role as State of Georgia Student Leader. Having served in this role as a student I believe it will enhance my connection with the Region II Student Leader. I am aware of the pressures and stresses that come from being a student leader so time management and communication will be very important.
During my years as a member I have volunteered and served as session monitor, presenter, COC committee member, and facilities committee member. These opportunities are relevant to the position because they showcase my servant leadership abilities and that I am a team member and work well in group environments. Serving as the State Director for Georgia demonstrates my ability to corral a group of people together and take their ideas and visions from paper to reality. This drive and ambitious nature will be needed to continue the work that begun with the previous Region II Representative.
My work on the nominations and appointments committee has forward me the opportunity to work with a dynamic group of individuals who are always striving to put our Association in the best hands. The processes for how policies and initiatives are enacted seem to be the same format I am familiar with since I have served four years on this committee. Since 2012 I have had the opportunity to serve as a member and Chair of the POC social. During my time on the committee we sought to engage the attendees, enhance their overall experience and pay tribute to the history of NIRSA.
In all of my roles and volunteer opportunities I have remained true to two qualities: keep an open mind and do your best in every situation. These two qualities have served me well and I will use them to continue serving our NIRSA association.
Please share your ideas for cultivating leaders in your region.
One way to cultivate leaders in the region is by reaching out to institutions that currently offer a robust leadership program. The programs that are in place have a curriculum that could be adapted for the skills and characteristics of the leaders we are seeking in the Association. After evaluating a few of the programs, a rubric could be applied and point value assigned for each member who participated in the leadership program that would give them NIRSA CEU’s.
Our Association is full of leaders a way to showcase those leaders could be an incentive program called Catch a Leader today. The members would be able to identify a leader in their program, institution or region with a quick blurb of who they caught today being a leader. The more positive reinforcement would eventually lead to more members participating in the NIRSA leadership positions.