Bryce Muller began his collegiate recreation journey as a freshman at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) where he earned his degree in sport management and marketing. Shortly after joining the sports program team Bryce quickly discovered his passion for pursuing a career in the field. After attending different NIRSA regional and national championships as well as professional development conferences it was clear he made the right decision. After four years at GVSU, Bryce accepted a position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as Graduate Assistant for Sports Programs. Bryce is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education.
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.
Collegiate recreation plays a very important piece in students’ quality of life and development while they are in college. I believe that it can change a student’s college experience or even their life. I know it changed mine. I was lucky enough to find my passion through collegiate recreation, it happened to be pursuing a career in the field. I know countless others who have also found their passion through participating and or working in collegiate recreation. Collegiate recreation strives to provide a welcoming environment for all of the campus population. Students have an opportunity to have a sense of belonging and that alone can change their life. I believe there is a direct correlation to student success and collegiate recreation. Students that are working or participating in the program offerings tend to feel more connected to the campus community.
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?
In looking at the strategic plan, something that jumps out to me right away is the priority to “Be a driving force in an integrated approach to health and wellbeing.” Students today are faced with a very unique circumstance nobody has had to deal with before. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way everyone’s student experience looks, especially in the health and wellbeing area. NIRSA recognizes that health and wellbeing is integral to student success and their experience in the campus community. This year, more than ever, it is important that institutions provide an opportunity to get this experience even through this pandemic. This has only shown me the importance of providing more opportunities for those who cannot make it to campus for an in-person activity. Students can feel just as connected to the campus community participating in events virtually. I understand that it’s unrealistic to offer ever single event virtually; however, with today’s technology we are able to provide opportunities for students who take classes remotely. In my term I would address this by providing more regional events with a virtual option, an option to be connected and meet others who cannot travel or do not have the resources to attend certain events in person. There are a variety of events or competitions that can be hosted virtually and give everyone a chance to live an active and healthy lifestyle. It’s very easy to focus on the people you see every day, but I want to challenge institutions to think about how they can impact the lives of those that they do not get to see.
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 had the opportunity to serve on the planning committee for Region III in 2019 with the Community Engagement Team. Through this I was able to see the hard work that students put into events. Seeing the behind the scenes on how much students not only want to grow but see other grow was very special. In other leadership positions that I have held I was able to practice using my voice to advocate for a group. As a leader I feel it is important to understand what the group wants and then it is your job to help take them there. My life was changed when my NIRSA mentors went to bat for me, advocated for me, challenged me, and pushed me to be the best I can be. As regional student leader I will have the opportunity to give that experience back to students. I am not seeking a leadership position to be in charge of a group of people but rather give them an experience like none other and make sure their ideas are heard. I know what it feels like to be listened to and invested in and it is important to me that others feel the same way.
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?
One of my biggest strengths is communication. As I touched on earlier, I believe as a leader you need to be able to communicate well with the group and to others to make sure their voices are heard. I also offer a unique perspective on finding new ways to get students involved. If we can get a student to an event or program they are much more likely to want to stay involved. They need to do more than just hear about what collegiate recreation and NIRSA has to offer, they need to actually experience it. The experience can come in a variety of different ways, but the most important part is that everyone has an opportunity to experience it.
I was able to experience the student development firsthand—I know how important it is. Having that experience is going to make it easier to give back and make sure others feel it too. I offer a lot of leadership experience through coaching, club presidency, and lead supervisor experience. The leadership skills I have gained are what got me to where I am today but the drive to make them better is what will make me a successful student leader. I also know what it’s like to feel like you aren’t a part of something because you are not welcomed. In collegiate recreation every person is welcome and the door is always open. I will make sure everybody knows that.