Project Description

NIRSA Elections
NIRSA Elections

Candidate for Region V Student Leader

Jay Mahoney
University of Northern Colorado

Biography/Summary Resume

Jay Mahoney began his involvement with campus recreation at the University of Northern Colorado where he earned his degree in sports coaching. He started as a club sports officer and was elected onto the Executive Council by a group of his peers. Jay quickly moved up through the ranks to become a competitive sports supervisor. Through this role, Jay shared his passion for the program by officiating intramural sports, supervising club sports home events, and managing the Special Olympics program. Jay was awarded the Club Sports Employee of the Year during his senior year. Continuing his education, Jay is the Graduate Assistant of Competitive Sports and is pursuing his master’s in sports administration.

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.

I believe that campus recreation holds an integral role in the retention, health, and overall success of college students. As a program that touches the lives of so many students, I feel like campus recreation is the best way for colleges students to accomplish their goals. The programs that campus recreation offers provide opportunities for every student to achieve their professional and athletic-related goals. This provides an escape for students to focus on becoming their better selves not only academically but physically. I am passionate about assisting students and athletes become the people they want to be.

Collegiate recreation has been a catalyst for my personal and professional development. I was a shy student prior to getting involved with campus recreation and getting involved was the best thing that could have happened to me. I was given opportunities that I thought I would have never had. I worked with staff that mentored and influenced me to become my best self and through this I developed a passion for the program. I became involved in as many facets of the campus recreation program as I could. I thought of this as my way to becoming my best self.

The connections and friendships that I have made through my involvement with collegiate recreation has allowed me to build an atmosphere of support throughout the program that I serve. Similar to a sports team, I have encouraged all of my staff to expect the best out of themselves and each other. I personally challenge every staff member to be the hardest working person in the room; this fosters an environment of dedication that will encourage them to accomplish their goals.

Collegiate recreation provides opportunities for students to participate in physical activity and wellness activities. This encourages a healthy lifestyle and proactive care for students. The influence that participation in the collegiate recreation has could change a student’s outlook on life and could assist them in fighting depression, anxiety, and the stress of college life. I believe that the collegiate recreation program has this opportunity over other programs.

In all of my collegiate recreation involvement I have had the goal to leave a legacy of greatness in everything I do. Collegiate recreation has given me the pathway to accomplish this goal. The involvement and participation in the programs offered by collegiate recreation has developed my critical thinking and decision-making skills as a professional. I observed a direct positive correlation with my own personal involvement with collegiate recreation and my GPA. I found that the more involved I was with a program I was passionate about, the more successful I was across all my endeavors.

Collegiate recreation provides programs that can influence and develop individuals to be their best selves. With many college students only spending a few years of their lives in college, this gives a small window of opportunity for the program to leave a lasting impact on the lives of those who participate in the programs.

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 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?

A major issue that I have observed that college students face today is the struggle with finding a place where they belong. As a college student it is often hard to find a niche on campus, this can lead to a decline in GPA, increased anxiety, increased stress, and depression in college students. This is one of the most prevalent issues that I have heard of while being involved with collegiate recreation. I would like to address this as I believe that it leaves a very large impact on the lives of students post-graduation. I believe that collegiate recreation possesses all of the necessary opportunities for students to manage their anxiety, depression and find a place where they belong on campus.

Getting involved with a program such as intramural sports provides students with opportunities to work and accomplish things with a team. This is an opportunity that is hard to find elsewhere outside of collegiate recreation. Intramural participation can create lifelong relationships and friendships that people may have never experienced otherwise. In addition to intramurals, club sports programs provide similar benefits. Having a team that provides an opportunity to be part of something larger than themselves provides a friendly and supportive environment that students can thrive off.

As a member of the Student Leadership Team, I would work to address the importance of the positive environment that collegiate recreation provides students. I want to bring awareness to the hardships that college students might face as they complete their collegiate experience and I want to see where collegiate recreation can help students. I would aim to create plans that provide greater involvement and participation in collegiate recreation programs as a way to manage mental health and wellbeing. To create a solution to the increased stress, anxiety, and depression that college students experience I would look to develop programs that focus on the benefits that collegiate recreation programs offer. The unity of being in a team can give athletes a greater sense of being. Accomplishing one’s physical goals can give them greater self-esteem and provide them with lifelong healthy behaviors. Something as simple as physical activity can be an amazing coping mechanism for students to manage stress.

Mental health is an issue that many college students face throughout their college career. There are programs that offer specific benefits to allow students to cope with this, but collegiate recreation is one of the greatest resources for mental health benefits. As a student leader I want to highlight the benefits and encourage students to accomplish their goals and change the way they perceive themselves through physical activity and involvement through collegiate recreation.

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 previous involvement with NIRSA programs has provided me with the framework to be an effective member of the Student Leadership team. I began my involvement through the club sports program offered at the University of Northern Colorado where I was the founder, coach, and president of the UNC Club Running Team. The passion I had for my sport allowed me to be successful in leading the team to being successful throughout my undergraduate degree. My success allowed me to develop a passion for developing students and providing them opportunities to succeed.

Throughout my undergraduate and the beginning of my graduate degree, I have been an advocate for the benefits of collegiate recreation. I volunteered countless hours to promoting the program and encouraging student involvement. I served on the School of Nature and Health Sciences Student Council and this gave me the opportunity to influence incoming students and connect with post-graduate students on the benefits of the collegiate recreation programs that we offered.

I continued my involvement with collegiate recreation at UNC by serving as a competitive sports supervisor and as the Graduate Assistant of Competitive Sports. This position allowed me to not only influence a small team but an entire program. I want to share the passion I have for assisting and motivation students with the students of NIRSA. I believe that I have the communication skills that I have learned from managing events and communicating with other schools has allowed me to develop my program to be its most successful. One such instance is the Special Olympics College Program that I have been a part of. I am a firm believer that all athletes and all students should be given the opportunity to benefit from collegiate recreation. I revised the entire program, trained officials on the different rules, and grew the program to where it is now.

I am proud of what I have accomplished through my undergraduate and beginning of my graduate degree and I believe I would be an asset to the NIRSA Student Leadership Team. I want to have a greater influence on students that are looking to develop their professional skills and accomplish their goals. With my background in coaching and motivating athletes, I aim to provide positive experiences that students will value.

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?

My goal throughout my collegiate career has always been to leave a lasting impact on the program and people that I may influence. This aligns with the role of the student leader. Focusing on student member recruitment and retention, I believe that my communication, relatability, reliability, and motivational skills would be very valuable. I have developed my communication skills through my involvement with collegiate recreation. I aim to understand every possible scenario and create connections between people.

Communication is a skill that is essential to the world. Good communication can increase the efficiency of a team and a program and allow for greater success. The skill of communication that I would bring to the Student Leadership Team is my efficiency and the transparency of my communication. I want to ensure that I communicate everything to ensure that nobody is left out. I want to develop communication skills in the students that I influence as I believe they are extremely valuable.

Relatability is another skill that I think would be valuable for the student leadership team. I am a person who has experienced almost every aspect of collegiate recreation throughout my collegiate career. I understand the hardships that student have, and I want to be someone that they can talk to. I believe in always having an open-door policy. I want anyone who wants to communicate with me to do so and I want to provide opportunities for feedback and criticism. This increases the autonomy of a team and of staff and can encourage them to become their best selves. I want to foster this development by being someone that students can relate to and I want to be a role model for what success can be.

I am a person that exemplifies reliability. This is a skill that I think would be valuable for the Student Leadership Team. I always put everything I have into everything I do. I work to be the hardest working person in the room regardless of the task. I think this is something that would be valuable as it encourages others to follow. I want to lead a group from within and help them develop themselves to work their hardest.

The skill that I think would be most valuable to the student leadership team is motivation. Motivation is a skill that I learned through my coaching and leadership positions and I believe it is important for all groups. I aim to provide motivational support that encourages students to become their best selves and accomplish their goals. I am very passionate about every person that I may influence, and I want to motivate them to develop their passion for whatever they may want to do in life. I want to foster the development of enjoyment that a person has in what they are passionate about.

NIRSA Elections: Jay Mahoney