Since its grand opening in 2010, the Drexel University Recreation Center, has garnered recognition on both local and national stages. In 2014, the Rec Center was ranked as one of the country’s most impressive college gyms and student recreation centers by University Primetime. Also in 2014, TopCounselingSchools.org listed the Rec Center among their compilation of best in class facilities. More recently, the Rec Center notched #14 of 35 university recreation centers via CollegeRank.com, ranking highest among private schools and joining the hallowed company of state funded juggernauts, UCLA and University of Texas at Austin.
And since it opened its doors to the community, one of a handful of collegiate recreation centers to do so, the Rec Center has virtually monopolized every local awards list across the board, having consistently beaten niche studios and commercial clubs, large and small.
The success of the programs transpiring within the 84,000 square foot shimmering expanse is supported by the collective strength and shared vision of its leadership team. The team, headed by Bryan Ford, Director of Recreation, comprises the vital cogs, which keep the roaring engine of the Rec Center running on all cylinders.
“I’m very proud what we have accomplished in recent years and look to build upon those successes,” says Ford.
So whether you’re taking charge of a program or an entire department, or wish to reinvigorate your role, take heed to the advice from the Rec Center’s staff of seasoned professionals.
Safety First – Risk Management plans need to be recognized as an ongoing process, one in which constantly evolves with the time and is never stagnant.
“When located in an urban setting like the Drexel University Rec Center is, it’s vital to have a comprehensive risk management strategy and plan,” said Drew Deming, the assistant director of recreation, programming and student staff. “This entails annual reviews of Emergency Action Plans with campus partners like Public Safety, General Council, Facilities, etc.
After plans are reviewed and finalized its important to continue the process. This includes passing the information through the communication chain, ensuring that every staff member from the top to the bottom receive appropriate trainings and certifications that exceed the minimum requirements.
Documentation is another important aspect of a comprehensive Risk Management plan.
Without proper up keep of documentation you are leaving yourself exposed and vulnerable to both lengthy and costly legal issues. Be sure to regularly save and update waivers, facility use agreements, certifications, staff schedules, etc in an organized manner so when information becomes needed you can find it quickly. There are many components to a comprehensive and effective risk management strategy. If any one of the components are missing then the entire plan is at risk for failure.”
Increasing Engagement Through Intramural Sports
“When planning my intramural calendar, I always ensure that we have a variety of choices that can appeal to any type of college student, not just athletic students,” said Jill Formanski, the assistant director of recreation, intramural and club sports. “We tend to offer at least one sport that is typically competitive and one that is more recreational. We want to attract even your atypical participant to play in intramurals and ultimately expose them to all that we have to offer here at the Rec Center. For example, in the Winter Term we offer Basketball and Floor Hockey, which are usually competitive but also include Billiards that term that may be intriguing to the atypical participant.
We also ensure that we offer Male, Female and Coed Leagues for all of our sports so that participants can decide what type of competition they prefer to participate in. We also tend to offer our sports at times that are similar to their professional counterpart and will fit within facility space availability. For example, football is held in the fall term, basketball and hockey in the winter term and softball and soccer in the spring term.
Since we only have one field available, we must have our field sports (football and soccer) at varying times. Finally, we always are willing to hear from the students on what they would like to have as a league. If something is requested, we offer it in a small capacity either over the summer term or at a time where there is space available. If we get many teams signed up and interested in the league, there is a good chance that we can add it permanently”