Jerrod currently serves as Assistant Director in the Department of Recreational Sports at Texas A&M University. He was hired by the university in 2004. Jerrod oversees a vast intramural sports program and supervises a staff consisting of one professional, two graduate assistants, and over 200 student workers. A focus has been on continuing to keep his program on the cutting edge and Jerrod has overseen many transitions in the program to make sure to meet the needs of the university community. While Jerrod began as a coordinator, he has stayed the course and been promoted through the years to his current leadership position. Also, in the Division of Student Affairs at Texas A&M, Jerrod serves as a member of the Staff Development Team, Critical Incident Response Team, and is a panel member in the Student Conduct Office.
Jerrod has been a member of NIRSA since 2001 and has served the Association in various ways. He was the chair of the 2014 NIRSA Intramural Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and was consultant for the 2016 NIRSA Intramural Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. Jerrod has also previously served the Association through being a member of many committees including the 2014 and 2015 NIRSA Region IV Conference and Student Lead On Committee (Program Chair), NIRSA Championship Series work teams, William Wasson Student Awards Committee, 2008 Annual Conference Host Committee, and on the Student Professional Development Committee. He was a 2017 recipient of the NIRSA Annual Service Award, has attended both Level I and Level II of the School of Collegiate Recreation.
While Aggieland is home, Jerrod will always bleed burnt orange even in a sea of maroon as he is a 2002 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He completed his master’s degree in 2004 from Georgia Southern University where he worked as a graduate assistant under the late Ms. Sarah Fain, one of his true mentors and great friends.
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?
When thinking about collegiate recreation every single day offers up opportunities. We have opportunities to change lives and shape and mold a generation as they navigate through the collegiate experience. It’s an opportunity that we should not take lightly and that we should take full advantage of daily to make the greatest impact that we can as professionals.
When thinking about specific opportunities, there are three that come to mind. Two deals with our Association and one directly with our campuses. First, for campus, I see the greatest opportunity being presented on campuses is the chance to partner with other entities on campus and begin offering and constructing campus hubs for recreation. For example, are new resident halls being built on campus? Is there space to have recreation areas? Who will run these areas and how can finances best be spent out of all budgets to make it feasible. What about different colleges on campuses that are building new facilities? Are those faculty and staff members, along with students, asking for recreation space? If we are to be the leaders in collegiate recreation, we must have a seat at the table during those planning meetings or our recreation impact on our campuses is diminished.
Within our Association I believe our biggest opportunities lie in partnerships and continuing to provide an inclusive environment for all. When it comes to partnerships, our Association does a fantastic job of making this happen and we just must continue to focus on the strong relationships we have already developed. It does not matter if it is companies such as Matrix et. al. or national associations such as NASPA, Aur association deserves a seat at the table. Additionally, we pride ourselves on being an inclusive environment and those conversations must continue to make sure everyone feels welcome no matter beliefs, ethnicity, or background. While our organization does a good job of being welcoming, we must realize there are members who feel left out and ostracized. We need to make sure that is not the case. We should never want to be inclusive by excluding others. The silent ones need to be heard.
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.
Throughout my years as a NIRSA member I’ve had many opportunities to serve our Association that I believe have prepared me for this opportunity as well. When looking at the position description, I can easily relate many of my experiences to the requirements of this position.
First, the regional representative must lead and coordinate the work of the Regional Leadership Team. Serving on two Region IV Conference Planning Committees and serving as Director of Officials at numerous NIRSA Championship Series events has prepared me to lead a group of my colleagues. I believe in respect and having an open ear and having these past opportunities have challenged me to make sure I’m listening to the needs of my team and my region.
Collaboration and engagement are duties that must be performed in this position and those I believe are two of my strong points. Teamwork is key to every aspect of campus recreation and by serving our organization in roles such as the Student Professional Development Work Team and at national flag football championships I have had the opportunity to work with many colleagues that required much interaction without face to face contact. For us to work together, this is a requirement as we are so spread out across the different regions.
Another important component of this opportunity is managing the region’s contingency fund. Watching Andy grow this over his tenure as our Region IV representative was amazing. Continuing to grow this fund and continuing to use it for scholarships for both our members and students is very important to me. Serving as host of many regional tournaments and a couple of national tournaments has taught me how important it is that we have proper budgets in place for events in our region to make sure that we are not overspending and that when our membership is strong and shows up, the surplus from attendance is well taken care of.
Please share your ideas for cultivating leaders in your region.
CREATING OPPORTUNTIES! That’s how we cultivate leaders! As a region, we must continue to give opportunities for leadership to those that have not. Leadership is not just a position, but it’s action. We must get more of our regional members presenting at our regional conference and at the annual conference. We must continue to share with each institution in our region to challenge them to do better and therefore members of their institution will do better. So many times, we simply focus on titles, but my question and my goal for this position is to get people to focus on action and not title. Lead by example and be the person we need to grow our region and challenge our region to become stronger and focused on ALL members in the region, not just the few.