The Final Exam is your chance to get to know leaders in the industry. For the July/August 2023 issue, Campus Rec Magazine spoke with David Fehring, the director of Campus Recreation at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
1. How did you get started in the industry?
Throughout my life, I’ve had a passion for sports, well-being and education. As an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, I started playing intramurals and then began working in Rec Sports as an Intramural Sports special event supervisor and official. From there, I went to Oregon State University for my graduate assistantship in Intramural Sports. I continued my professional career there for 16 years. I then transitioned to the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) and am now the director of Campus Recreation.
2. How would you go about describing campus recreation at UCCS?
The Campus Recreation department provides the UCCS community with diverse, innovative and inclusive spaces, programs and services to meet their well-being needs. We have an amazing staff that cares passionately about student development and engagement. Campus Recreation and Wellness collaborated to become one of the first institutions to co-locate recreation and wellness services in the Gallogly Recreation and Wellness Center. It’s a beautiful campus with amazing views from the Recreation and Wellness Center of Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. Plus, it has over 13 miles of trails on campus.
3. What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced throughout your career?
Like many others, COVID-19 was an extremely challenging time. With campus closures, staff furloughs, transitions, so many unknowns and planning/reimagining how to reopen for the campus community, it was a very difficult time. From that experience, I do feel like we’ve become more resilient and able to reinforce the value and impact campus recreation has for students to connect, belong and thrive.
4. What has been one of the biggest accomplishments of your career?
Throughout my career, I’ve been very fortunate to work with many talented students, staff and faculty. I have especially enjoyed seeing my undergraduate and graduate student employees thrive — whether it’s in campus recreation, higher education or another professional setting. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I hear how their passion and efforts have impacted and helped so many other people.
5. What is one lesson you have learned that other recreation professionals might benefit from?
I truly believe one’s career is filled with accomplishments and challenges. I have learned working in campus recreation is a journey. These are a few pieces of advice I would share with other recreation professionals:
- Be yourself and stay true to your values.Be open to change — it’s inevitable.
- Genuinely build and foster relationships within your organization, across campus and within the field.
- Have patience and understand that timing is everything.
- Continue to learn, challenge yourself, and be innovative to meet the needs of today and the future.
6. What is one fun fact about yourself others may not know?
I am a first-generation college student that grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin.