A Lazy, But Effective, Stroll

lazy river

With summer approaching and students’ finals under the red pens in professor’s hands, hardly anything sounds better than lying in an inflated tube under the sun, allowing the pools current to drift us off to sleep down a lazy river.

And at many recreation centers, this dream of floating in a raft down a lazy river could actually be a reality. In recent years, campus recreation renovations have included lazy rivers, or water currents, as Cindi Barnett, the director of campus recreation at Missouri State University, likes to call them. “Because I don’t think of college students as being lazy,” she explained. The update to the aquatics center aren’t only for bragging rights – though that is certainly a palpable advantage – but also contribute to student’s overall health and wellness, employment and even leadership training.

Three university campus recreation directors share why they decided to implement a lazy river into their renovation project, and the pros and cons behind including the leisure pool. A couple of the universities didn’t just stop at lazy rivers, but also included amenities, such as a water rock climbing wall and a spa. Read over how these additional features to the aquatics centers have affected their overall campus recreation climate.

Louisiana State University

Lazy River

Who: Laurie Braden, Executive Director of Campus Recreation

When: Phase 1 began in 2013 – present

What: In addition to a facility renovation, the facility is adding a leisure pool in the shape of “LSU.”

Why: “It provides current students the opportunity to study, socialize and have jobs on campus. Certainly a world class recreation facility does help recruit students to the university as it adds a place for students to seek balance and wellbeing as they move through the academic process of obtaining a degree. We contribute to the campus community by providing student jobs. And we add value by helping create community where students, staff and faculty can come together with common interests,” said Braden

North Dakota State University

NDSU Aquatics - Rendering Updates

Who: Tammy Aronson, Associate Director of Operations for Campus Recreation and Intramural Sports

When: 2015 – August 2016

What: A new aquatics center, complete with a vortex pool inside a leisure pool, 6-lane lap pool, hot tub, sauna and a fire pit.

Why: “Students are the ones that did the research on the vortex pool and they’re the ones that pursued the vote in getting all the information out. Once that interest level was established and they proved that yes, there was enough interest to drive this, the students really want it and voted toward that. Then that committee was put together of different entities on campus, as well as some student representation to go through the design process of it,” said Aronson.

Missouri State University

lazy river

Who: Cindi Barnett, Director of Campus Recreation

When: August 2012

What: In 2012, Missouri State opened a brand new recreation center, including a water current with fountains, lap pool, sauna, spa and zipline.

Why: “Ours [water current] has been really beneficial. It also allows us to do birthday parties for kids, because the kids think it’s a great, fun thing to do as well. But I would definitely, first off, listen to your students and hear from them, what they want in the aquatic center. And don’t just assume that they don’t want this or that. I think it’s very surprising, because you have to weigh the cost of what it’s going to be and if it is going to be a trend that may go away and then you’ve wasted your money because you’ve got something there, and then nobody uses it,” said Barnett


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