Nick has served as the Director – Campus Recreation Services with CENTERS @ Cleveland State University – since 2016. He has been employed by CENTERS for eight years and prior to becoming the Director, Nick worked within CSU Campus Recreation Services in three capacities as Assistant Director – Member & Guest Services; Associate Director – Facilities & Operations; and Senior Associate Director – Facilities & Operations. The experiences and insights gained in these various roles have shaped Nick’s professional and personal development and are the driving force behind his aspirations to become a leader within his department both at CSU and CENTERS as a company. Prior to joining CENTERS, Nick was employed for three and a half years as the Assistant Director – Student Activity & Academic Center at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Nick also interned at Washington University in St. Louis and completed his graduate degree and undergraduate degrees at Georgia State University and The Ohio State University respectively.
Nick has been a NIRSA member since his time as an undergraduate student in 2004. He had the privilege to serve the Georgia Recreational Sports Association (GRSA) as one of four founding members and worked on the Executive Committee as the first State Secretary. Nick has served as President-Elect, President and Past President of the Ohio Recreational Sports Association (ORSA) and has also chaired the State Workshop Host Committee, Nominations & Elections Committee, Budget & Allocation Committee, and Professional Development Committee. His work within the state organizations will provide him with the acumen to lead at the regional level of NIRSA. Nick was a member of the William N. Wasson Award Committee and assisted the Program Committee as a proposal reviewer. He also served as the Professional Site Coordinator for the 2016 Region III Student Lead On and 2014 Ohio Recreational Sports Association State Workshop both held at Cleveland State University.
Nick lives in Avon Lake, Ohio with his wife, Leslie, and his daughters, Elizabeth (6) and Maggie (4). In his free time you will find Nick rooting on the Buckeyes, Panthers, Vikings, Red Sox, Browns and Cavs.
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?
I believe one of the greatest opportunities the regional representative has is the ability to “connect the dots” to the NIRSA membership with the work being done by the NIRSA Board of Directors, NIRSA Assembly, NIRSA Appointed Commission Work Groups and, of course, the NIRSA Member Network. I can honestly say prior to serving on the Executive Committee of the Ohio Recreational Sports Association (ORSA), I saw the NIRSA governing structure as complex and complicated to understand as an individual NIRSA member. Over the past several years, the governing structure has become clearer to me, and I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of that governing structure and play an active role in leading our association forward together. If given the opportunity as a regional representative, I believe it would be my responsibility to explain the nuances and work being done by the various NIRSA leadership teams – so every individual in the NIRSA membership could better understand their role and together we can collectively make the change necessary to improve our campus recreation departments and the NIRSA.
I am particularly interested in the work being done by the Health & Wellbeing Commission, as our on-campus department is currently undertaking the creation of a health and wellbeing model that can be used as a resource to connect our programs and services to the many departments on campus interacting with our faculty, staff and students. With growing awareness of how mental health issues affect our college campuses, I believe campus recreation departments need to be relied upon as a focal point on campus to provide outlets for students to reduce the stress, anxiety and depression in their lives. I feel more and more of our departments have seized this opportunity and as a regional representative I would like to continue this effort as we move into the future.
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.
While I have had the opportunity to serve the NIRSA at the state, regional and national level in various capacities over the past 11 years, there are two prominent experiences I believe will assist me in succeeding as a candidate in the regional representative role.
The first was being a part of a small team of professionals led by Kacy Toberg in the state of Georgia. That group worked diligently for an entire year to make the Georgia Recreation Sports Association (GRSA) a reality by securing IRS tax-exempt and non-profit status, crafting and finalizing a state constitution, opening and managing a bank account, enlisting student and professional members, and finally, hosting our first ever state workshop at Georgia Southern University. Throughout this process we were able to engage and network with professionals in established state organizations, which allowed our group to gather the necessary information and resources to formulate the plan to create the Georgia Recreational Sports Association. I consider this experience one of the most rewarding professional opportunities I have had to date, and it has definitely prepared me to be a candidate as a regional representative.
The second impactful experience was representing the Ohio Recreational Sports Association as President-Elect, President and Past President. During this time, I was given an opportunity to provide direction for the oldest state association within NIRSA. As president, I provided oversight of the five-member executive committee; the six individual sub-committees; a $50,000 annual operational budget; and more than 300 student and professional members within our great state of Ohio. Our executive committee was able to implement our association leadership succession plan, increase our student and professional scholarship fund, grow our financial reserve account, and increase participation in the annual state workshop. These accomplishments will assist me to become a successful candidate as a regional representative.
Please share your ideas for engaging volunteers and identifying leaders in your region.
One could argue the state associations from Region III are some of the most, if not the most, engaging and dedicated organizations within NIRSA. Year in and year out, our region hosts individual state workshops, as well as multiple professional development opportunities for our students and professionals. In many instances, the students and professionals volunteering at these events are the very candidates who eventually lead our state association’s executive boards and represent Region III in various capacities within the NIRSA.
Having served as the Professional Host Site Coordinator for the ORSA State Workshop in 2014 and Region III Student Lead On in 2016, I was able to connect with the countless students and professionals volunteering at these two events – many of which I now consider friends and colleagues. I understand the importance of engaging the volunteers at our state and regional events, building those personal relationships, and eventually reaching back out to them and encouraging them to serve as committee chairs, stand for office or continue to volunteer in any capacity they feel comfortable within the NIRSA.
If able to serve in the regional representative role, I would continue to build strong student and professional relationships – old and new – so our states, our region and the NIRSA remain strong associations!