Andrew has worked in the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Department of Campus Recreation since 2011. He began as the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports before gaining further oversight of club sports and the UTSA Recreational Field Complex. In 2018, Andrew was promoted to Senior Associate Director of Programs and Assessment and currently oversees three program areas: Sport Programs, Fitness & Wellness, and Outdoor Pursuits. As the Assessment lead, Andrew is responsible for collecting and analyzing data that the department can use to tell its story and demonstrate the value of collegiate recreation to the broader campus community. These experiences have given him a greater appreciation for the power that collegiate recreation can have. Andrew earned his undergraduate degree at Florida State University and his graduate degree from Texas A&M University.
Andrew has been a NIRSA member since 2009 and has served the Association in a variety of ways. He currently serves on the NIRSA Government Affairs Committee and NIRSA Championship Series Assessment Committee, along with his role as the State Leader for Texas. Andrew has volunteered at many regional and national extramural events, including three years as the Co-Director of Officials at the Region IV Basketball Tournament. He has also presented at the Annual Conference (2014, 2016, and again in 2020!), the Region IV Conference (2014 & 2019), and the Intramural Sports Institute (2016).
Andrew lives in Helotes, TX with his wife Megan, daughter Madelyn, and his four-legged daughter, Hattie. He loves to travel and quote lines from his favorite television shows “Seinfeld” and “The Office.”
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?
The passion and power of our members provide the Association with our greatest opportunities. NIRSA is a member-driven organization—without contributions from our membership, the organization would not be able to survive. Our members are innovative, student focused, and driven. I believe these qualities are important when tackling two current issues that I see within the field.
While NIRSA has created various conferences and workshops for its members to attend, budgets around the country are being squeezed. The registration fees for these events can be prohibitive and while I am not advocating for a reduction in price, I do think the Member Network can work together to address potential resolutions to this issue.
Specifically, I would like to work with the Network to determine (assess) the current financial constraints that our members face when trying to pay these registration fees. At the 2019 Region IV Conference we surveyed attendees to get a better sense of who was paying out of their pocket versus having institutional support (and to what extent the support was). This type of data can inform our decision making when it comes to trying to remove barriers to participation. For example, if the data indicates that student members are likely to have to pay their registration costs, perhaps the Member Network can work with NIRSA HQ to create a payment system for students which does not require full payment initially. Additionally, with technology advancing at an ever-increasing rate, the Member Network could explore opportunities for members to virtually attend the conferences and workshops that are so valuable for our members.
As I mentioned before, institutions around the country are seeing their budgets slashed and some are even questioning the value of having recreation centers on a college campus. The Member Network can play an important role in providing resources to member institutions that can support or offer guidance on navigating these critical issues. Of course, the resources themselves are being created by our innovative and driven members who understand the value that collegiate recreation can have on a student’s wellbeing. The Member Network can work to identify, collect, and curate the successful, new initiatives and innovations that our members are executing on their campuses.
Of course, this also requires the Member Network to communicate effectively with the Association’s members. I recognize that this can be a challenge at times as we all have our preferred method of communication and NIRSA has tried to deliver content in a variety of formats (e.g. NIRSA Know, social media, regional newsletters, etc.). It is incumbent on the Member Network that we explore opportunities to update these communication formats where necessary and explore other options to ensure our members receive this critical information.
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.
In my ten years as a NIRSA member, I have had the pleasure of serving the Association in a variety of roles that I believe qualify me to serve as the Region IV Member Network Representative. Specifically to Region IV, I served on the Region IV Conference Planning Committee in 2015 and 2016; and as the Vice-Chair for our 2019 Conference in Tulsa. I’m also excited to be the Chair for our 2020 Region IV Conference! I was fortunate enough to be a presenter at the 2014 and 2019 regional conferences. Additionally, with my background in intramural sports, I was a member of an All-Tournament or Officials Committee at a Region IV Basketball and Flag Football Tournament from 2009–2019. This includes serving as the Co-Director of Officials at the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Region IV Basketball Tournaments. Finally, I am finishing my second year as the NIRSA State Leader for Texas.
On the National level, I served on the NIRSA Student Basketball Officials Development Committee from 2012–2015 and am currently serving on the NIRSA Championship Series Assessment Committee and the NIRSA Government Affairs Committee. I have also co-presented at the 2014 and 2016 Annual Conferences, the 2016 Intramural Sports Institute, and will again be a presenter at the 2020 Annual Conference.
While all of these roles are different and unique in their own way, each one has provided me with an opportunity to work with like-minded professionals and students from around the region (and country!). As any NIRSA member who has served on any committee will tell you, the value of that committee inherently lies in the communication abilities of the team’s members. To serve in any of the capacities I mentioned above, an individual needs to be able to communicate effectively (both orally and written) with teammates who are not down the hall in your office suite, or even in the same time zone as you. It is imperative that, as the Region IV Representative, I can communicate messages from NIRSA to our members and vice-versa. Communication, of course, includes active listening and as the Region IV Representative, I will be responsible for listening to the region’s members and providing that feedback to NIRSA HQ. I will also need to listen to the other Member Network Representatives and be able to understand the various feedback coming from the other regions.
Inevitably, when a group of individuals comes together to work on a project(s) there will be disagreements. My aforementioned experience as a director of officials has given me valuable insight into managing conflict and disagreements within a team. When conflict arises, all team members must understand the mission or goal of the team. If we can provide clear standards and expectations, it can help to eliminate conflict.
Finally, from reading the job description of this position, it is evident that this position requires someone passionate about campus recreation, the Association, and its members, including students! I believe the experiences mentioned above clearly demonstrate my passion and love for all things NIRSA!
Please share your ideas for engaging volunteers and identifying leaders in your region.
My “day job” includes assessment and I believe that assessment can play an important part in engaging volunteers and identifying leaders within the region. First, we need to assess current volunteers and leaders. Why are they serving in their current roles within NIRSA? What value/benefits are the volunteers getting from their experience? Are there similar values or experiences that these volunteers and/or leaders have in common? Getting answers to these and other questions can provide us valuable information that we can then share with members who are thinking about getting involved but are unsure. Identifying similar characteristics among our current leaders could potentially give us insight to similar members “coming up the pipeline” and make identifying future leaders easier. Having a better understanding of the perceived benefits of volunteering from current volunteers can enhance the marketing of opportunities available to the Association’s members.
At the 2019 Region IV Conference in Tulsa, I had several members come up to me and ask about how they could get involved with the Conference Planning Committee. Some of them mentioned applying before and not being selected. It was great to hear from those members about wanting to get involved, and of course, having more people willing to volunteer than available spots is a good thing! However, it demonstrates the need to improve how we communicate with our members about 1) opportunities to get involved and 2) the selection process for those opportunities. In my aforementioned “day job,” I try to be as open and transparent with my colleagues regarding decisions made and, as the Region IV Representative, I would bring the same level of transparency to my work on the Member Network team. Along those lines of being open and transparent, it is important for the Member Network representative to be present and available at the various conferences and workshops around the region in order to visit with and listen to members who might not be able to attend the more “high profile” NIRSA events like the regional and Annual Conferences.
Finally, I think it is important that the Member Network representative works closely with the Regional Student Leader to help identify student members who are active within the Association and looking to become more involved. Undoubtedly, those students who are engaged as student members will be more likely to also be engaged as a professional member. So an open dialogue must be created between the Member Network representative and the Student Leader.