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.
Collegiate recreation in an integral part of higher education that goes far beyond just participating in sports. Recreation has a lot of different levels and capacities that students can become involved including intramurals, open recreation, club sports, and fitness classes. On top of physical wellbeing, recreation creates an environment of social interaction to create friendships, stress reduction, respect for others, and self-confidence that is so important in the rigorously-demanding college environment. Without that element, college students are more likely to become overwhelmed and will potentially be physically and mentally unhealthy, which may lead to dropping out. Student wellbeing and sense of belonging is critical to success in higher education, and collegiate recreation is a key contributor to creating a sense of community on college campuses. There is no shortage of opportunities to be involved with recreation including working on the other side as an employee of recreation programs. I believe that employment opportunities lead to the development of skills that are valuable moving into the professional working world. Students learn how to develop events, supervise peers, develop trainings, and evaluate employees. Those are transferable skills that students can use to be successful outside of college.
For me personally collegiate recreation changed my life. I am an example of how employment within a recreational program can lead to experiences and major personal development. Entering college, I was always an extremely active person participating in soccer and basketball throughout high school. Sports was everything to me because it was where I created my friendships and work ethic. However, it was always just a hobby to me until my sophomore year of college when I applied to become an intramural official. That job changed my hobby to a career passion. I could gain valuable experiences that have helped me to learn about myself and grow as a professional. What I learned about myself is that I am passionate about being a leader and mentor for other students. Helping them to grow and learn as people and seeing them try new things to improve the program is what I love about collegiate recreation. Collegiate recreation is a community that is a second family to me. Going to work every day and interacting with professionals and students brings me a lot of joy. Recreation is so much more than playing a game or lifting weights, it creates lasting relationships and develops skills that are necessary as a part of higher education.
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.
I started my involvement in NIRSA in 2016 by attending the NIRSA Annual Conference. At this conference, I got my first taste of the size of the recreation community. There were strong bonds and drives to help improve programs and student development across the country. I knew from that experience that I wanted to become a part of NIRSA.
After the conference, I actively attempted to take on more leadership roles within my recreation department and became the intramural coordinator at Hamline University. Through that experience, I was given the opportunity to lead a diverse student group through trainings, events, and programs. This will be beneficial as the Region III Student Leader because I will be able to effectively assist with the NIRSA Mentoring Program and facilitation of elections. Also throughout my undergraduate experience, I gained an understanding of how to work with others utilizing strong communication and the delegation of tasks. This will serve me well when communicating roles and responsibilities with the state/provincial student leaders. In my current role as a graduate assistant at Central Michigan, I constantly collaborate with athletics and student organizations to host events. With club sports, I work with students to plan tournaments from start to finish. This has helped me to develop a mind for events that will be important when working with others for the planning of Lead On, student programs at NIRSA Annual, and working with regional hosts to organize the student section of regional workshops.
Attending the NIRSA Annual Conference created a passion in me and led to substantial development for me as a professional. I want nothing more than to give back to NIRSA and the students. I feel with my experiences that I can help mentor and provide valuable resources to assist students as they pave their own paths of success.
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 bring a lot of different dynamics that would be an asset to the Student Leadership Team. My strongest qualities are my attention to detail and time management. Projects and information that need to be communicated will get done in an accurate and timely fashion. As the regional student leader, I will meet necessary deadlines and will do well to get important information and be a viable resource to different programs of NIRSA. Being an athlete for most of my life, I have played and been a part of many teams and understand the importance of collaboration and communication to successfully accomplish goals and objectives. In my role, advancing goals and objectives of NIRSA as well as handling concerns as a team with all members of the Student Leadership Team will be crucial in order to be successful. Along with that, I am an extremely driven individual who will give my best effort with anything I do and learn and grow from mistakes. I want to continue to grow and learn more about collegiate recreation and make a difference with NIRSA.
In addition, I feel that I can contribute some unique perspectives to this role. Throughout my undergraduate experience and my experiences as a graduate assistant, I have gotten the opportunity to work in many departments including intramurals, operations, club sports, and facilities. Due to having the opportunity to work in various departments within campus recreation, I can speak and relate to each of the different areas needs and understand how they function independently and together. Another perspective that I bring is that I have worked at two institutions of different sizes. I started in collegiate recreation at Hamline University, a small private school in Minnesota and am now at Central Michigan University, a large public school in Michigan. I understand how larger schools have a bigger staff with many focused in one department whereas smaller school have less people that can have a hand in many different areas. These perspectives are beneficial as I assist with putting together workshops and programs because I can help gear the content towards topics or assist with putting together a presentation that benefits everyone regardless of size or department in NIRSA. I believe my skills, talents, and perspectives could be a strong asset to the Student Leadership Team.