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.
For many students, collegiate recreation serves as the “other” classroom. In a NIRSA-published study, “The Benefits of Campus Recreation,” 64% of students who participated reported that participation within campus recreation provided them with skills and abilities that will be used beyond college (Forrester, 2014). Through recreational facilities, services, and programs, students are able to further their development in areas that are often overlooked in an academic classroom, but still essential for professional success beyond graduation. Interactions with peers during informal recreation, and programs such as intramural sports, help students to develop their social and emotional intelligence through the development of friendships, group cooperation, and interactions with diverse populations.
Campus recreation centers are places where all students can participate and find a sense of belonging and value, making them an essential component of the campus community. Campus recreation has been a positive impact on my collegiate experience and a critical aspect of my individual, as well as professional, development. Through my employment at multiple institutions in various positions, I have learned to listen first, practice accountability, and deliver results. Within my supervisory roles, it has been important to listen and hear what coworkers, students, and patrons are saying. Realizing that I do not have all of the answers and understanding others’ perspectives has been a critical tool in developing my communication skills. With responsibility being one of my strengths, I have always held myself highly accountable, but my experiences in campus recreation, have taught me to practice accountability with my peers.
Through my responsibilities as a manager, I have gained experience in clearly communicating expectations and providing feedback and redirection when expectations are not met. Participation in numerous projects and initiatives has instilled in me the importance of establishing a track record of success. Keeping commitments, meeting expectations, and performing at my highest level are values that I practice daily to ensure that I am consistently contributing and delivering results. The development of these skills, among others, have given me a strong sense of integrity and pride in my work as a campus recreation practitioner.
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?
Within NIRSA’s Strategic Plan, the area that I see being a major challenge faced by students is access to timely and relevant learning opportunities. For many students, funding is often a barrier that prevents them from taking part in the various learning opportunities provided through NIRSA. While some institutions are fortunate enough to support student development financially, there is still a large number of students who are unable to receive such support. To address this issue, as a student leader, I would encourage more engagement by state student leaders. Through participation of state student leaders, I would look for innovative ways to distribute current knowledge to student members using fewer financial resources. Working together, we would grow state workshops, find new ways to bring conference knowledge back to students, and help students to find funding avenues to be able to attend professional development opportunities.
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.
The position criteria calls for someone who is skilled in communication, collaboration, and presenting and public speaking. I have been able to develop strong verbal and written communication skills through networking at NIRSA events as well as working as a member of various teams and committees, including the Staff Development Committee at UNL, The Student Employee Advisory Council at SIU, and the Professional Recreation Club at SIU. My ability to work with and cultivate relationships with students and professionals at all levels will be critical to fulfilling many of the duties of the Member Network leader.
Collaborating with other student leaders, members, and institutions is a large part of the responsibilities of a Member Network leader. I have successfully collaborated with community agencies, non-profit organizations, corporate partners, and other campus departments to increase program offerings and quality through my work within campus recreation, community recreation, and other university organizations. Volunteering with NIRSA as a session monitor at the state, regional, and national level has given me experience speaking and presenting information in front of large groups. I also use presentation skills on a regular basis in staff training, staff meetings, and academic work. I am confident in my ability to represent Region V, and NIRSA as a whole, as a fluent speaker and presenter.
Other qualities essential to success as a student leader within NIRSA include being goal oriented and results driven, having a passion for mentoring, and having a focus on inclusion. My top CliftonStrengths are activator and maximizer, meaning that I as a leader am able to create enthusiasm in others, put words into action, and focus on strengths to achieve excellence. As a student leader, goals would guide me and results would motivate me to achieve my responsibilities. Leaders within NIRSA have a duty to mentor others within the field. One of the primary reasons that I was drawn to campus recreation is my passion for helping others to realize their potential and achieve their goals. The mentoring component of the student leader position is one of the aspects that most excites me. Lastly, one of the main goals of this position is member recruitment and retention. As someone who focuses on inclusion when approaching situations and people, I am confident in my ability to attract members and retain them by making them feel valued and finding ways to engage them so that they find meaning in their involvement with NIRSA.
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?
As an influential leader with a unique ability to build relationships, I plan to leave a lasting impact on the field of collegiate recreation through reaching and including as many students as possible. I would contribute this team goal by bringing with me my perspective of mindfulness. In all of my actions as a leader, I like to keep in mind the butterfly effect. The butterfly effect is the idea that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world. As a leader, I am aware that my actions can have great impact, no matter how grand or seemingly insignificant they may be. With this perspective in mind, I would bring a focus of action to the Student Leadership Team. As students, I think we often underestimate our ability to enact change. As a leader, by focusing on individual and group strengths, I would help the team to realize the potential of our actions.