Brandon Bermea started his NIRSA journey in intramural sports at Texas A&M University where he got his degree in kinesiology. He started out officiating flag football and basketball and later became an official’s supervisor and fell in love with the campus recreation life. Brandon began attending and volunteering at NIRSA conferences and NIRSA Championship tournaments and knew he wanted to be in the field. After graduation, he moved to Oklahoma State University where he currently is the graduate assistant for competitive sports and is pursuing his master’s degree in leisure studies.
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.
Through my studies and personal experiences, I believe that campus recreation has the ability to drastically impact a student’s experience in a positive manner. Students go through a significant change in college by learning how to live on their own, balance school, and work on discovering who they are. Campus recreation is a vital tool to allow social interaction, physical wellbeing, and can relieve stress throughout a day in the life of a student. I personally was impacted by campus recreation in many ways. Before I started working intramural sports, I was very unorganized and struggled in managing my time. Once I began officiating, I wanted to be available to work and get better at officiating so I started getting on top of my school work early and often. Most importantly, throughout my four years in working in campus recreation, I could see myself grow professionally and be more confident within myself in any environment. At conferences or tournaments, I could never see myself as being that person to try and make someone feel comfortable or as the first person to introduce myself but now it comes as secondhand nature to me to be that welcoming friend to any other person I meet. This kind of student development would not have been possible without campus recreation, and I believe it is important to allow as many opportunities for other students to have a chance at this development.
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?
I would say a major issue currently affecting students today is the status of their overall wellbeing throughout their years as a student. Health and wellbeing is one of the strategic values under the strategic plan and I believe that every student is not fully functional under each component in the circle of wellness. Whether it be mental, spiritual, social, physical, emotional, occupational, or financial, most college students are struggling in at least one of these aspects and most of the time it is with multiple areas within an area of wellness. If we are able to give tools and resources to students to combat each one and have them realize how important each one is to their success, then we are able to create and empower more healthy leaders on a campus. I would like to implement physical activity breaks within state, region, and annual conferences to promote health and wellbeing. I would also like to more sessions that dive deeper into the mental aspects of college students within campus recreation so that they practice a lot of what they’re preaching to participants and their fellow co-workers.
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.
Within NIRSA involvement I have been an observer, doer, and an evaluator through various conferences and tournaments. This type of experience has helped me see events from different angles as a student, graduate assistant, and to hear from experiences of professional staff from these events. I have been a student at Lead Ons where I felt welcome but felt that there could’ve been more planned interaction with purpose. I hope to be able to plan for the allotted time and make sure there is intentionality with our students. Being director of competition and operations for flag football and basketball tournaments has also shown me that hospitality is key when hosting events. If your guests feel welcome while they’re there and when they leave feel as if they learned multiple things to take back to their campus, then the event had great purpose. I would put great attention to detail towards all our events so that we can keep learning and showing the resources we offer to our region members. I believe my focus and positivity would meet the criteria to serve the students of all our regions.
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?
Student member recruitment and retention are something I want to be heavily involved with if I were able to become Region IV Student Leader. I have worked at freshman orientation camps, welcome trainings for new supervisors, and lead new officials training through my involvement on campus. These trainings have helped me become personable, learn how to interact with strangers, and I have learned to become comfortable around a new group of people. I know how to make others feel welcome and wanted within a program and with this, I can reach more students. I enjoy listening to students and am very open to trying new activities even if they haven’t really been implemented through NIRSA. I have also implemented my own activities and events of student development within my universities such as personal growth, becoming more confident within yourself, and knowing when to ask for more. I have had monthly meetings with students to hear types of ways our program is doing well and how it can be improved. If we were to implement some of these trainings or a version of this, our students could benefit and train more of their skills. These talents are what I bring to the table and can keep the rise in student recruitment and retention within Region IV.