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.
Whether in a group fitness studio, on an intramural field or in the weight room, campus recreation is a place where everyone from across campus can come to feel connected. Collegiate recreation provides a common ground for students, faculty and staff across campus to come together and move towards common goals. Whether you spend all day in the engineering building or in the business college, you can come to the recreation center in the evening and there is something there for you and people who share your interests. In my opinion there isn’t much else that makes me feel equal with one of my professors than sweating next to them on a cycle bike or fighting for one more rep in a strength class.
My personal journey with campus recreation started in the group fitness studio on a yoga mat. I was comfortable there, I knew what I was doing, and I could follow along with ease. That involvement grew to trying new classes on the schedule, thanks to the unlimited pass, and falling in love with all of the ways I could move my body. Before long I was the one leading these classes and helping others to feel comfortable on their mats and cycle bikes. Whether my participants were fellow students, faculty members or staff of the university didn’t matter much to me, the important thing was that they had chosen my class that day and I felt responsible for providing them with a great experience and make sure that they left the room feeling successful.
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 are 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?
Students today are provided with countless opportunities during their collegiate careers to advance their professional development. Whether they want to participate in research, study abroad, or pursue an internship, there are offices and organizations set up to help them achieve their goals. While focusing so much time and attention to build their professional selves students often forget about their personal health and wellbeing needs. Often times students let these fall to the back burner and say that they will get back into it later in life when they perceive that they will be less busy, which leaves them feeling weighed down by stress and responsibilities.
During my term I would like to address this issue by helping students to realize that what they are doing at campus recreation can also enhance their performance in other areas of their development. The numbers show that students who use recreation centers perform better in terms of academics. Beyond being a user of the facility those who become employed
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.
My journey with NIRSA started at the Region V Conference at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in the fall of 2017. At the time, I was entering my second year as the Program Assistant for Group Fitness at the University of Nebraska and third as an instructor. I had recently decided to expand my teaching credentials to include a cycling certification in addition to my yoga certification that I had already held. During my time in Lincoln my eyes were opened to the fact that recreation didn’t have to be something I left in college, but that I could turn it into a career.
As a graduate assistant I advocated for my staff to take advantage of the conference opportunities in Indiana and Region III as well as apply for scholarships in order for them to be able to attend. So far, I have attended the IRSA State Workshop and will attend the Region III Student Lead On in January where I plan to apply to present to students. Outside of NIRSA, I also work to have my staff identify the skills and development that they gain from their position that are transferable to what they want to do in their careers. As regional leader I would work to connect the students of my entire region to similar opportunities that I help my staff take advantage of at Purdue.
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?
When I began my collegiate career I was completely oblivious to the plethora of opportunities that could be afforded to me through campus recreation. I knew that I wanted to use my 200-hour yoga certification and be an instructor and when I applied to teach that is all the further I thought I would get involved at the recreation center. From my perspective teaching was always going to be my side job, something I did for fun after I got done working my “real” job. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the world of NIRSA that I became aware of the opportunities that exist in campus recreation. Eventually I realized that my original career plans were not going to make me happy in the long run and began looking for other opportunities. That is when I started to seriously consider applying for graduate assistantships and with the help and encouragement of those around me I began to see that campus recreation was a perfect fit for my goals. NIRSA has helped to connect me with recreation professionals from across my state, region and country that I consider to be colleagues, friends and resources of information.
Not every student will want to become a graduate assistant or coordinator and move up the ranks in the campus recreation field. But each and every student employee has the opportunity to gain new skills and take part in professional development through NIRSA that will help them in whatever industry they decide to pursue a career in. As regional representative I would like to shift the focus of hourly campus recreation positions from being “just a job” in students eyes to being an opportunity to develop as individuals and professionals. Due to my background as a student who didn’t truly understand the capacity of campus recreation I bring a different perspective than those that cannot understand why students do not take full advantage of the opportunities offered.