The Advisory Committee is a new addition to the realm of campus recreation at Penn State University in Pennsylvania.
In the 2014-2015 school year, Penn State’s campus recreation department was moved to fall under student affairs. “Through that whole transition process, this idea came about,” said Graceanne Domino, the committee co-chair. “We needed an advisory committee for our student recreation program, and what’s unique about this committee is it’s called the student advisory committee, and it’s chaired by students. However, there are also faculty and staff members representing various areas on campus that also sit on the committee.”
There are eight, at-large student representatives, plus several who will be appointed annually to represent different departments across campus. In addition to the students, faculty and staff finish off the committee, ranging from the director of campus recreation to the assistant dean of the college of health and human development.
“It really does cover that broad range of people who would have any use for the buildings — would be utilizing them — having a say in the best uses of the buildings,” said Domino. “I think that’s really the best part about the committee is it’s by the students, for the students, but there’s also faculty and staff members sitting on there, representing their areas of interest as well, and it’s just going to help us all work together to be able to make sure that these buildings are utilized in the best interest of the students.”
Currently, the plan is to meet once a month, but that number can increase depending on the issues at hand. Domino said they are still working on filling in the empty spots, but the most important thing is they have solidified the foundation, hopes and goals of the advisory committee. Plus, she explained they recently streamlined the application process, creating a more formal route for people to apply to be members of the committee.
One of the accomplishments of the committee so far is the fact it weighed in on the newly renovated intramural building. “Its whole goal is to serve the student body,” said Domino. “We want to make sure we’re doing that to the best of our abilities and hopefully … now this advisory committee will be able to make the student body’s voice heard and bring that up to the directors of leadership in student affairs and hopefully implement some changes where need be.”
Overall, Domino said having a vision is essential. “I think you need to have a clear direction of where you want to go with it because if no one really steps up to take that initiative, and form that foundation, and then moving forward toward what everyone envisions, it’s going to be tough to really accomplish anything meaningful,” she said. “I think that would be my biggest piece of advice: Have a vision for what you want to accomplish.”