Since 1950 and NIRSA’s founding, February 22 has been the day to celebrate health, activity, competition and inclusivity, known as National Rec Day.
However, it’s proving to be a bit more tricky to plan an event for in 2020 for one simple reason. “This year National Rec Day isn’t falling on the perfect day because it’s a Saturday, so I’m not going to bring a bunch of staff in on a Saturday, especially as busy as we’ve been,” said Rich Mylin, the director of Recreation at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
That means in order to celebrate National Rec Day, UCSD has extended the one-day celebration to a week-long contest.
Mylin said his marketing team came up with the idea in trying to think about ways to engage students in the initiative.
A couple caveats from UCSD Recreation on the above: Participants must have public profiles to enter the contest. Photos may be used in upcoming promotions. Photos must be appropriate. Winner will be contacted after close of contest. Must be a currently enrolled first year UCSD student to participate.
The swag big prize includes a REC Activity Pass, Peet’s Coffee gift card, duffle bag, hat, towel, lanyard, pop-socket and mug.
When it comes to promoting the contest, Mylin said they have a web banner and hung up a contest poster in the lobby. But, the biggest marketing push has been posting pictures and videos on social media. “It’s really about trying to build a presence on these students’ phones, so I really like the initiative they are taking on this one. Hopefully it turns into something a little bigger than that one-time activation in the lobby, and maybe it sticks on their phone for a while,” said Mylin.
In fact, the team at UCSD Recreation hopes this is the start toward engaging social media influencers. Mylin shared if they can connect with and have those students promoting recreation, they could reach parts of the population they have yet to connect with. “I’m hoping social media is a way to go find those students who just haven’t found us yet,” he said.
While UCSD got creative this year to make the most of National Rec Day, Mylin said the industry as a whole needs to get behind this day in order to really see a big benefit. “If all of us can get it out there as this broader day to be active, then I think it really benefits us as a whole, where people then think, ‘Wow, this is really a national opportunity,’” he said. “I would just hope we can start to think about this nationally and maybe create something that builds on itself, instead of us all doing these one offs.”