Campus Partnerships: Do You Even Go Here?

campus partnerships

Do you feel as if you have no idea who other administrators or staff are on your campus? How often have you caught yourself saying there are too many counter programs or another department just does not understand  what  your department or position does? Frustration can build quickly when you feel as if your campus community is fragmented and everyone is on a different page. Here are some strategies I have incorporated to help me feel welcomed on the campus and to get others to understand  why  I do what I do. 


It is easy to become wrapped up in our day-to-day and to have a micro view of how our positions interact with the campus community. Often I find myself thinking about how I will be an agent of change to our users and best support the mission, vision and values of my organization. However, through engagement with others and a consistent desire to share my passion with my colleagues in other departments, there has been a shift of other departments reaching out for collaboration on programming initiatives. Learning about others and finding ways your position can help support their passion is vital to creating a cohesive and supportive climate on campus. 

Get Creative 

Often, there are programs on campus that may conflict or disengage students to programs offered within your facilities or through your department. Reaching out to these individuals is a great way to see if there is a way to combine or cross promote programs. Many campuses have wellness as its own entity or part of a department outside of campus recreation. Reaching out and seeking collaboration is a great way to show you are committed to supporting that group while also reaching your vision. It does not have to be “Us vs. Them” if you are willing to compromise as well. 

Attend Non-Rec Programs 

I cannot stress enough how impactful attending a program hosted by a non-affiliated department can have on bridging a relationship between two groups. Showing a genuine interest in other campus programs will help shape a culture where staff want to collaborate more. You may even learn something new or see a new way to facilitate. Further, we should be stewards of the campus experience, and we cannot achieve this without understanding the experience holistically. 

Though engagement with your campus, you can be the catalyst that creates a culture of collaboration and support. We easily think micro within our departments and creating a certain work culture, but expanding this ideal to a macro level will help integrate you into your campus community. Try to become part of the whole campus experience rather than a specific facet of it. 

Drake Belt
Drake Belt is currently serving as the assistant director of aquatics and safety programs at the University of Arizona department of campus recreation. Born and raised in Indiana, Drake earned his Bachelors of Science in Psychology in 2013 and Masters of Science in Kinesiology emphasizing in Physical Activity, Fitness and Wellness in 2017 from Indiana University where he served as the graduate assistant for aquatics in campus recreational sports. Previously, Drake worked as the assistant director of operations, aquatics and special events with Loyola University Maryland where he oversaw building supervisors, aquatic staff and worked with the university to program special events for recreational sports. As a graduate assistant, Drake was responsible for the oversight of the lifeguard and aquatics lead staff, as well as coordinating aquatics events with athletics. Drake is a huge advocate for leisure recreation, creating inclusive environments where all feel welcome, and creating opportunities for leadership development for staff and students. Drake, his wife, and three dogs are enjoying their new life in Tucson and look forward to what opportunities are to come. Contact him at

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