Please provide a statement of your personal views on the role and contributions of collegiate recreation in higher education and the impact it has had on your personal development.
I believe in the power of people and their ability to inspire, impact, and ignite change. Campus recreation is an environment in which those three things can be accomplished. It has the ability to impact lives by facilitating transformative experiences and providing opportunities that foster lifelong meaningful relationships. We promote holistic wellbeing and give individuals the opportunity to take control of their lives in pursuit of creating the best possible versions of themselves. In partnership with the higher education institutions in which we are housed, we have the privilege of serving not only the students on our campuses but the communities that surround us as well. By providing opportunities for individuals to enhance their self-efficacy and become empowered to take control of their lives, we act as a catalyst for change as those people go off to positively impact their communities. By investing in students we invest in not only the future of our Association and the field of collegiate recreation but communities at the local, regional, national, and even global scale.
NIRSA has the ability to bring together students and professionals in pursuit of something greater than ourselves. I believe in what we do but more importantly why we do it. We do it to connect; we do it to grow; we do it to discover; we do it to play; and we do it to lead. As leaders in collegiate recreation we have the responsibility to affect the lives of those we serve. The people I have met through NIRSA have had such a profound impact on my life. They have done more than just believe in me, they have empowered me to believe in myself and challenged me to never settle in the pursuit of becoming the best that I can be. That is precisely what I plan to do as the Region II Student Leader.
In describing your contributions to the Member Network, NIRSA, and the students, identify how your involvement and experiences meet the position criteria and qualify you to serve NIRSA in this role.
In February 2015, I began what would become the foundation of my career in campus recreation. I was hired as a trip leader and shop attendant for the Outdoor Pursuits & Rentals (OPR) program at Central Washington University (CWU) where I took students backpacking and river rafting in addition to working in the rental shop. In June of the same year I was asked to take on the role of the Student Supervisor which opened my eyes to other program areas within the department. I was immediately drawn to the culture and environment of campus recreation and after discovering that it was a “real job” I wondered: Is this something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life? To find the answer to that question I realized that I would need to diversify my experience to increase my competency and gain a better understanding of the industry. I spent time working in intramural sports, facilities, special events, and student development ensuring that I acquired both programmatic and operational experience. I became a NIRSA member, started attending annual conferences, and spent time shadowing and interviewing professionals. I was hooked. The people I met and memories I made solidified that campus recreation was the direction in which I wanted my life to go. I knew that I had found “it” or rather, “it“ had found me. I found myself showing up every day excited and inspired with a clear sense of purpose that I think campus recreation provides so many of us. When I started at OPR I had no idea that it would change the course of my life but I am so glad that it did.
After my time at CWU I made the decision to take a year off before returning to graduate school. As one might expect, taking that year off was a difficult and intimidating decision but one that has played such an integral role in both my personal and professional development. The things I did during my year off provided me with a unique perspective that has impacted the way I look at and approach situations, communicate with others and establish expectations I have for myself and those around me.
Of the leadership positions I have held, my term as the 2015–2016 Student Liaison for the Washington Recreation & Parks Association (WRPA) has most directly prepared me to execute the specific responsibilities of the Region II Student Leader. Related to NIRSA, I feel that my experience attending annual conferences, serving on the 2017 NoCRSA State Workshop host committee, and presenting at the state and regional level has given me a perspective that could be useful to students moving forward.
Having a diverse understanding of various program areas, I hope to serve as a valuable resource for students by sharing my experiences to promote and inspire involvement.
As a Student Leader of NIRSA, you have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the field of collegiate recreation. What skills, talents, and perspectives would you bring to the Student Leadership Team?
I pride myself on being an efficient and effective communicator that can work to inspire a shared vision. I truly believe that when individuals come together to work towards something greater than themselves amazing things can happen. I am dedicated to the development of students and work to foster a supportive yet challenging team atmosphere. My experience facilitating team and group dynamics as an outdoor trip leader has led me to be successful in achieving those types of environments that are conducive to cooperation and teamwork. I am a firm believer that one cannot grow inside of their comfort zone so I am constantly seeking to put myself in situations and surround myself with individuals that challenge me.
In 2014, I summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa with six people that I had only known for two weeks. That experience had a profound impact on my life and the person that I am today. I learned a lot about myself as well as countless lessons related to teamwork, communication, motivation, and persistence. We understood that we had to quickly come together as a team and establish goals and expectations in order to be successful. Personally, I learned the importance of listening to the needs of those around you and knowing how to best support and motivate them. When it takes every ounce of strength in your body to take one step forward, as a teammate, you not only need to know exactly what to say to that person in that moment, you have to be right there alongside them, stride for stride. The way we were able to come together to accomplish the most difficult thing each of us had ever done continues to inspire me to this day. The Region II Student Leadership Team will have their own Kilimanjaro and I believe that I can help motivate and inspire them to get to the top.
The opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the field of collegiate recreation is what motivates me every day to be the best that I can be and to challenge others to do the same. NIRSA aims to transform lives and develop healthy communities worldwide. By coming together I truly believe that we can achieve that goal and maintain our position as true leaders in collegiate recreation. NIRSA has shown me how to turn my passion into my profession and I hope to empower and inspire others to do the same as the 2017–2018 Region II Student Leader.