It’s time to reflect back on the cover stories of the past year. One common theme has been change. Campus rec as a whole is transforming its approach to serving students. Belonging, student staff training and continuously evolving play a large hand in that. Here is Part Two of the 2023 Cover Story Reflections.
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California State University, Bakersfield
July/August 2023 Cover Story
A sense of belonging is something many rec centers across the nation are striving for, and California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) is no different. However, like every other university, CSUB has challenges to overcome in order to achieve this.
For starters, CSUB is a large commuter school — with only about 500 of the 9,200 students living on campus. Plus, 65% are first-generation students. And when COVID-19 hit, the in-person orientation SRC tours were wiped away. The campus rec team faced the obstacle of informing students about the facility, programs and services offered.
However, they are succeeding. Whether it’s the community built around The Rock, offering a Wellness Suite or changing policy to allow food in the building, each addition has served belonging in a new capacity.
Colorado State University, Pueblo
September/October 2023 Cover Story
RecPack is a student staff training and development program at Colorado State University, Pueblo (CSU Pueblo) that is helping ThunderWolf Recreation thrive. “It’s built off of Disney’s approach to people management,” said Emily McElwain, the assistant dean of Student Life and the director of ThunderWolf Recreation.
RecPack employees are instilled with the idea that they are brand ambassadors. In-depth development has produced a well-trained, well-scripted and well-groomed front-line team.
CSU Pueblo is also rocking community partnerships, including one with the Nature, Wildlife and Discovery Center (NWDC) in Pueblo. Certain areas for Outdoor Pursuits trips in Southern Colorado require a permit holder/guide which can get quite expensive. To combat this, ThunderWolf Recreation provides funding for a NWDC intern each semester. Therefore, the permit holder for their trips is complimentary.
Kennesaw State University
November/December 2023 Cover Story
Tara Parker, the executive director of Sports and Recreation, started at Kennesaw State University (KSU) about 25 years ago. As such, she’s seen a lot of evolution in campus recreation at the university since.
From adding more staff members, to opening a new facility in 21015, to gaining the Marietta campus recreation facility, there’s been a lot of change at KSU.
In fact, each program has involved. Outdoor Adventures started a full-service Bike Shop. Competitive Sports now includes a mix of leagues, tournaments, one-day play, virtual programs and schedule-yourself opportunities. Athletic Training has seen the number of students who request appointments skyrocket. And the student-development focused program hasn’t been afraid to change.