ECU Campus Recreation and Wellness

ECU Campus Recreation

The December 2020 Rec of the Month is East Carolina University (ECU) Campus Recreation and Wellness (CRW). 


Mission: To engage the Pirate Community in diverse recreational and wellness experiences by providing exceptional facilities, programs and services.

Departmental Values: Inclusivity, learning, innovation, fun, tradition (I LIFT)


CRW manages four flagship facilities including two indoor and two outdoor locations.

The Eakin Student Recreation Center was built in 1997 and is located on ECU’s main campus in Greenville, North Carolina. In November 2020 the Student Recreation Center was officially renamed the Richard R. and JoAnn M. Eakin Student Recreation Center (ESRC). The Eakin Student Recreation Center honors Dr. Richard Eakin who was ECU’s fourth chancellor and the eighth chief administrative officer who served numerous leadership roles at ECU for 26 years before retiring in 2013.

Dr. Eakin was instrumental in the creation of the Student Rec Center in 1997. The 150,000-square-foot facility has six basketball courts, a 27-foot rock-climbing wall, an adventure center, indoor and outdoor pool, more than 12,000 square feet of free weight and fitness floor area, indoor track, dedicated indoor cycling zone, mind and body zone, resistance training zone, functional cross training zone, three racquetball courts, three multipurpose studios, the cardio zone with premier networked cardio, a fitness performance center, wellness center, well-being coaching room, classroom space, a family changing room with shower, and a newly added athletic training facility.

The Health Sciences Recreation Center opened in April 2017 and is located on ECU’s Health Sciences Campus in Greenville, North Carolina. CRW operates a 25,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center inside of the 76,000-square-foot student center on the health sciences campus. The two-story, open-concept facility can accommodate a variety of movement activities, lectures, banquets and various other events. The first floor houses a multipurpose gym space that can accommodate two smaller basketball courts, one full-size basketball court, two volleyball courts and two badminton courts. There’s also more than 10,000 square feet of space dedicated to strength equipment and free weights. Locker rooms and a family changing room provide space for members and guests to prepare for the workout and prepare for their return to their day.

The second floor dedicates more than 4,000 square feet to cardiovascular equipment and is also the home of a multi-purpose studio, a functional cross-training studio and a fitness performance space. In addition to the recreation and fitness center, you will also find a 1,000-square-foot Wellness Center in the Health Sciences Student Center. The Wellness Center provides a zenful experience for students and faculty staff to access resources, utilize massage chairs, or have a cup of tea and meditate.

The North Recreational Complex (NRC) is an outdoor recreation complex located approximately five miles northeast from ECU’s main campus and features eight multipurpose activity fields. The fields can be sized to accommodate soccer, flag football, lacrosse, ultimate Frisbee and rugby. A field house overlooks the fields providing equipment storage and a covered seating area with restrooms. Parking is provided adjacent to the field house. The property also includes six acres of water for fishing and boating, a sunbathing sand beach, fitness equipment, a half mile trail around the lake, sand volleyball, corn-hole, and an 18-hole disc golf course.

The Odyssey High Challenge Course, also located at NRC, is approximately 40 feet tall and has eight distinct high elements. The main course is 12 feet long with two 300-foot zip lines as an option to finish the course. The NRC also features six walking/jogging trails and one 5K running trail. Free kayaks, disc golf discs, sand volleyball, corn hole and sunbathing are available for all ECU students, faculty/staff, members and guests.

The Blount Recreational Sports Complex is an outdoor recreation complex located across the street from the ECU Grady-White Boats Athletic Campus. It is home to intramural and club sports, some challenge course groups and select special events. The facility offers numerous opportunities in a variety of sports such as flag football, soccer, softball, lacrosse, ultimate Frisbee, rugby, lacrosse and field hockey. A field house with restrooms is also on-site for convenience to members and guests. The fields can be reserved for use by campus groups with advance notice. The city’s greenway also is adjacent to the complex encouraging a symbiotic relationship with the university and the city.


ECU Campus Recreation and Wellness employs 25 full-time team members, 13 graduate assistants, and more than 450 part-time student and contracted employees each year. The department is led by an executive team consisting of a director and four associate directors who each manage one of the following areas: administration and finance, facilities and operations, leadership and programs, and wellness and fitness. Out of all the programming the department offers, here are a few highlights:

Adventure and Team Training

  • Fall and Spring Free Friday Floats on the Tar River see an average of 20 boaters a week.
  • 1,700 climbers a semester at the ESRC 26-foot climbing wall.
  • Trips to Florida and Vermont on Spring Break — 10 participants each.
  • Host of annual Wilderness First Responder Certification through NOLS.
  • About 2,000 participants in team training annually on low and high ropes odyssey course.
  • Partnerships with Wounded Warrior Project and DSM Dyneema for large corporate groups.

Athletic Training

  • Four certified athletic trainers on staff.
  • Started in Fall 2019.
  • New 832-square-foot athletic training room.
  • 500 participants received over 2,500 total treatments in 2019 and 2020.
  • Close partnership with ECU Student Health Services including medical supervision and in-clinic hours.

Sport and Youth Programs

  • Award-winning summer camp program with 120 campers per week, and over 900 served annually.
  • Eight Parent’s Night Out events annually with 20 average participants.
  • Largest intramural esports program in North Carolina.
  • 41 All-American Team Sports Officials in flag football and basketball.
  • 150 teams in largest sports — basketball and flag football.
  • 31 Division 1 National College Baseball Association All-Americans 2010-2020
  • Club Baseball National Champions 2011 and 2017
  • Club Dance National Champions 2017
  • Club Wrestling D2 National Champions 2020
  • 31 clubs and over 1,000 members.
  • Donate 3,000-plus pounds of food annually for fall club sports food drive

Special Events

  • Annual kick-off Raid the Rec Event at the ESRC sees 2,800 participants the Friday before classes.
  • Beach Fest After Dark event, part of family weekend, saw 600 students and 350 families for fireworks and fun at the NRSC.
  • Host site for NIRSA Region 2 Soccer Tournament.
  • Host site for NIRSA Regional Basketball Championships.
  • Host site for USA Rugby Regional Fall and Spring Championships.
  • Host site for the 2021 Southeast Collegiate Fitness Expo.
  • Partners with Exercise Is Medicine On Campus committee and Department of English to put on the university annual Ghost Walk.

Group Fitness

  • ECU offers both in-person and virtual group fitness experiences to Pirate Nation. One of the first universities to partner with Les Mills in the early 2000s, 10 different Les Mills programs are offered on the schedule in addition to 10 other various freestyle formats and licensed programs such as Zumba, Pop Pilates and Barre Above. The most popular classes are BODYPUMP, Zumba, cycling, yoga and barre. The average cost per head for group fitness classes is $0.49 and an average class attendance of 24. Classes are not only taught online and in the recreation centers, but instructors go out and teach classes in residential buildings and off campus apartment complexes. All instructors are certified through the American Council on Exercise along with any specialty or licensed certifications and training. ECU partners with the American Council on Exercise to provide a non-credit instructional program to recruit and train instructors.

Les Mills OnDemand

  • ECU partners with Les Mills to bring workouts to Pirates wherever they are whenever they are with their affiliate partnership with Les Mills OnDemand. Les Mills OnDemand gives people access to over 1,000 workouts across 13 formats ranging from 15 to 55 minutes each. The partnership provides people with free 30-day access to the app and a 20% discount if they choose to continue after the trial.

Personal Training

  • Personal training is offered both virtually and in-person at ECU. All in-person one-on-one training clients begin with a smart start package. During the smart start program, a client will meet with a personal trainer over the course of six sessions which includes an initial consultation and evaluation, movement analysis and Styku 3D body scan, custom program design, and four structured exercise sessions. By the completion of the smart start program, the trainer and the client have co-created a plan of action to continue the personal training journey fitting the client’s needs.

Virtual personal training allows the client to train when and where they like. Each client receives 30 days of individualized exercise programs designed specifically for the client. Personal trainers meet with each client virtually for an initial consultation and then design weekly workouts tailored to the goals and preferences. During the 30 days, the client has regular contact with their assigned trainer via text and video right from the app on their phone where the workouts are delivered. ECU provides online personal training through the Trainerize App.

30 Day Workout Programs are also available to folks who don’t have the time or energy to create their own program. Clients can select from one of the various programs with a specific goal in mind such as strength, endurance, mobility and more, and then receive 30 days of workouts right at their fingertips via the app. All personal trainers are certified through ACE, ACSM, NASM or NSCA. The two fitness coordinators and the senior assistant director of wellness and fitness are all completing the Online Trainers Academy certification. ECU partners with the American Council on Exercise to provide a non-credit instructional program to recruit and train personal trainers.

Small Group Training

  • ECU offers approximately six different small group training programs twice per semester. Each program meets twice a week over the course of five to six weeks. Participants become part of an inclusive, goal-oriented community who hold each other accountable during the progressive program. Small group training programs are offered in both virtual and in-person sections. Each program is led by one or two certified coaches. In-person programs require a minimum of three participants to enroll with a maximum of 12. Virtual programs are capped at 25 participants to maintain the community feel.

Meet Them Where They Are Campaign

  • The Meet Them Where They Are campaign was created and adopted as an operational philosophy to ensure the programs and services are developed so the student body can access them when they want it, how they want it and where they want it. Utilizing the transtheoretical model of behavior change, bite-sized programs were created to deliver outside of recreational facilities and online. Programs and services will be further developed into three categories: Discover, Explore and Live. Program topics include the following:
    • Alcohol & Other Drugs
    • Mental Health & Stress Management
    • Nutrition & Body Image
    • Sexual Health & Healthy Relationships
    • Movement & Exercise
    • Overall Well-Being
    • Clifton StrengthsFinders

Employee Well-Being Institute

  • Campus Recreation and Wellness (CRW) and Human Resources (HR) partnered up and recently launched the new and improved ECU Employee Well-Being Institute (EWI). The original EWI was introduced in 2003 and has been a staple program at ECU for many years. The EWI was originally launched to introduce faculty and staff to general well-being and how to apply these into daily life. Throughout 2019 and 2020, the teams at CRW & HR redesigned the EWI and based the new program on Gallup’s Five Essential Elements of Well-Being. The course is taught on the principles of Discover, Explore, Live.
  • Every other week a live virtual class will be held, followed by a week of exploration activities for each participant to complete at their own pace. Through the exploration process, the hope is participants will adopt practices that will become part of their daily life, become well-being champions for the university, and promote well-being to others through their lived experiences.

Well-Being Coaching

  • Well-being coaches partner with clients to seek self-directed, lasting changes which, when aligned with clients’ values, enhance well-being. Coaches display unconditional positive regard for their clients and a belief in their capacity for change. ECU well-being coaches honor that each client is an expert on his or her life and ensure all interactions are respectful and non-judgmental. Well-being coaching is offered at no cost to students, faculty and staff.
  • Clients may be referred by a departmental partner or clients may self-enroll. The well-being coaching program started a soft launch in January 2020 then completed a full program launch in August 2020. All well-being coaches are certified health coaches through the American Council on Exercise and peer coaches are certified peer educators. The program is led by Karen Woodmansee, a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC) with a master’s of science in integrated well-being.


  • The ESRC was a winner of the prestigious “Facility of Merit” award from Athletic Business Magazine.
  • The SRC was named the Richard R. and JoAnn M. Eakin Student Recreation Center in November 2020 to honor ECU’s fourth Chancellor.
  • ECU is launching Pirates Thrive as it’s model for well-being. The university uses the Gallup 5 Elements of Well-Being — career, social, financial, physical, community — as a framework.
  • Chanale Propst, a wellness graduate assistant, was selected as a 2020 NBCC-MFP Master’s Mental Health Fellow. The National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program (NBCC MFP) for Mental Health Counselors awards up to 30 master’s-level counseling fellowships of $10,000 each.
  • The first university in the U.S. to partner with the Trainerize app.
  • Polar Bear Plunge is hitting its 25th year in 2021 and sees 800-plus jumpers annually at the ESRC outdoor pool.
  • Approximately 300 students attend Fresh Check Day each year in partnership with the Jordon Porco Foundation.
  • 2019: Voted Greenville’s best summer camp in the Annual Daily Reflector Best of Series.
  • 596,793 annual participations at all facilities.
  • 66% of student users had a 3.0 GPA or higher.
  • 82.5% of on-campus residents utilized CRW facilities in 2019 and 2020.
  • 338 ECU faculty/staff participated in a summer employee well-being program.
  • 15,275 participants in group fitness classes from May 1, 2019 to March 1, 2020 — 248% growth over the last four years; projected to reach over 20,000 participants for the 2020-2021 year.
  • 78 on-demand well-being programs with 3,828 participants — plus 359% from 2018 to 2019.
  • 6,727 engagements with the weekly well-being programs — plus 118% from 2018 to 2019; on target to reach more than 18,000 engagements for the 2020-2021 year.
Brittany Howard
Brittany is an editor at Peake Media. Reach her at

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