Project Description

NIRSA Elections
NIRSA Elections

Candidate for Region III Student Leader

Karen David
University of Dayton

Biography/Summary Resume

Karen David got her start in collegiate recreation at The Ohio State University where she worked at the Jesse Owens and North Recreation centers while completing an undergraduate degree in public health sociology. Karen developed her passion for collegiate recreation while attending Region III Lead On her sophomore year. From that point forward she has been highly involved with NIRSA by volunteering, presenting, serving on committees, as well as being a member of the NIRSA Assembly. Karen is currently a first-year graduate assistant at the University of Dayton where she is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education administration.

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.

Higher education is incomplete without the contributions of collegiate recreation. Collegiate recreation is an integral part of the higher education institution because it is a multifunctional department that can cater to the needs of nearly every student on a college campus. For example, a campus recreation center is more than just a place to participate in physical activity. It is a place of employment, where students can learn valuable leadership skills; it is a communal area where students can build relationships with people they may have otherwise never met or interacted with; and, finally, campus recreation centers have the ability to be a haven for those affected by the mental health crisis that is sweeping through college campuses. By being a multifunctional resource to students, campus recreation cements itself as an important pillar in a campus community.

I can personally attest to the importance of collegiate recreation because I would not be who I am today without the impact of collegiate recreation. During my undergraduate experience, I was fortunate enough to become involved in the first month of my freshman year. I was hired as a front desk attendant where I thought that I would swipe some IDs, clean equipment, and fulfill my work-study requirement. What I did not know is how impactful that experience would be. Over the course of my undergraduate experience, my employment allowed me to participate in workshops that enhanced my leadership ability, attend conferences such as Lead On and NIRSA Annual, as well as provide a place that supported my personal growth.

While my employment was important, my participation is what I believe to have had the largest personal impact. Through getting involved in sport clubs and informal recreation I was able to find a welcoming community that valued me and accepted me for my genuine self. This community-building ability that collegiate recreation has is what makes collegiate recreation vital to colleges and universities.

Today I am continuing on my recreational journey as a graduate assistant and using my platform to inspire others to see the importance of collegiate recreation and the positive impact that it can have on its participants.

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 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, students are facing enormous amounts of stress. Collegiate recreation departments and NIRSA as a whole can be a solution to reduce this stress. I believe that by targeting the aspects of being a driving force in an integrated approach to health and wellbeing and advocating for the impact of campus recreation from the strategic plan can help reduce the stressors students face. I would like to address this issue by providing resources to NIRSA members on how to effectively communicate the benefits of recreation, such as stress reduction, to their students. It is simple enough to say getting 30 minutes of exercise a day is good for you, but to get students in the door and using the resources available to them requires more.

Which is why I would propose a grassroots type movement where NIRSA members would be given access to basic foundational information that would focus on the importance of recreation and how the profession is beneficial to holistic wellness, but the individual institution would be responsible for conveying the message in a way that best suits the needs of their students and institutions. For this to come to fruition, I imagine the student leadership team cultivating resources, such as studies that outline the positives of recreation or programs that institutions are seeing success with, and sending out this information to all NIRSA members in an easily digestible format. By providing this resource to the NIRSA members, the profession will be better able to communicate the importance of the profession as it pertains to student wellbeing.

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.

I have been fortunate to serve NIRSA in multiple areas over the last few years and I believe that my past experiences qualify me for the position of the Region III Student Leader. Currently, I am a member of the NIRSA Assembly as well as a planning committee chair for Region III Student Lead On, both of which have provided me with avenues to gain qualities that I believe will make me an effective regional student leader. For example, in my role as a student member on the NIRSA Assembly, I participate in conversations that advance the goals of NIRSA and the profession, as well as present on what the Assembly does for the general body at state and regional conferences. I am able to communicate complex ideas to the assembly and NIRSA general members in an easy to understand manner that engages those who are being addressed.

In my position as a committee chair for Student Lead On, I have been able to apply these communication skills to be able to lead a group towards a common goal. I am required to delegate tasks and be a support system for my fellow committee members in order to promote the conference. I believe that this experience has prepared me for the role of the student representative because it allowed me to work with students from other institutions, and I have had to overcome the challenge of communicating and delegating work across cities, states, and even time zones. This position also has provided me more insight into how NIRSA events work. I have previously volunteered but that cannot truly compare to the knowledge I have gained from working directly in the planning process.

In the rolls described above, I am in a leadership position. To me, that means that I am in a place to help others succeed. I believe that by being in the role of the Region III Student Leader I will be able to expand my leadership abilities and help NIRSA move forward which will provide more opportunities for future students and ultimately help them succeed.

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?

I would bring the perspective of someone who has multiple experiences across multiple institutions. I believe that my diverse range of experiences would be beneficial to the Student Leadership Team because I would be able to bring in the perspectives of all the other students that I have come in contact with and not just my own. I have had experience at large public institutions as well as small private institutions and I believe that this perspective would bring diversity to the team. In this work I have done I have also been highly involved with NIRSA.

Since the early stages of my undergraduate career I have grown to know the importance and value of collegiate recreation. My participation has enhanced my leadership abilities, provided learning opportunities, and enhanced the skills I would need in a professional setting. I have learned valuable interpersonal and leadership skills, how to problem solve and communicate effectively, and how to think critically. I believe these skills and experiences would make me a viable candidate for the Region III Student Leader position as well as bring a diverse perspective to the Student Leadership Team.

NIRSA Elections: Karen David