On Wednesday, February 22, campus recreation departments across the country celebrated NIRSA Rec Day with activities and events to commemorate the founding of the organization in 1950.
One of the participating schools was Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) where Campus Recreation observed the day by offering programming that encouraged physical activity.
Stacey Maline, the senior associate director of Penn State Campus Recreation, said it was important for the department to celebrate the founding of NIRSA as the association’s mission directly aligns with theirs.
“NIRSA supports collegiate recreation departments in their efforts to offer facilities, programs and services to students to help them live active, healthy lifestyles,” said Maline. “NIRSA members and member institutions benefit through professional development, benchmarking and assessment data, connection opportunities, and program participation. Why then would we not want to celebrate the founding of this great association?”
Penn State’s Slate of Events
Maline said Campus Recreation first hosted a pickleball clinic where instructors helped students learn to play and coordinated individual games. The event took place in the Intramural (IM) Building from 2 to 4 p.m.
Afterwards, representatives from the department hosted a tabling session in the IM Building lobby to promote the benefits of recreation and NIRSA. This event lasted until 8 p.m. and table visitors received a NIRSA Rec Day T-shirt. In fact, almost all participants to the day’s programming were treated to the free T-shirt.
A three-point shootout and hotshot basketball contest also took place on one of the IM Building’s courts from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Moreover, students were able to register on IMLeagues, and up to 10 participants were permitted every half hour.
Finally, Campus Rec’s Cardio Dance Party fitness class was showcased on a separate court from 7:15 to 8 p.m. Furthermore, all ability levels were treated to fun choreography and a cardio-focused workout.
“Our main goal for this day is to help celebrate collegiate recreation and the founding of our professional association, NIRSA,” said Maline “We are always looking for ways to bring awareness to what we do and offer on Penn State’s campus and promote opportunities for students to engage in active, healthy lifestyles. We hope students come and participate in the various activities throughout the day and go home with a better awareness of what they can get involved with in Campus Recreation.”
Advice and Tips
Maline said the best way to get started with NIRSA Rec Day would be to take the opportunity to highlight programs or activities that are already scheduled to take place that day. Then, find a way to make them unique as part of the celebration.
“For example, we were already hosting our Cardio Dance Party class as a part of our normal Wednesday night group fitness schedule,” said Maline. “But we moved it to a gym court, making some other minor enhancements to the class, promoting it as a unique event that day and offering T-shirts to attendees. Similarly, we already had intramural basketball scheduled to take place that evening. We simply added a three-point shootout and hotshot contest to take place in between scheduled games.”
Overall, Maline said they wanted to be able to celebrate and showcase what a typical Wednesday looks like for Campus Recreation offerings while adding a special twist to be more a part of NIRSA Rec Day.
What Other Schools Are Doing
Georgia Institute of Technology
At the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), the day-long slate of activities included paddle boarding, volleyball, a leadership challenge course and a Zumba class, among other offerings.
Georgia Tech also gave away free items like NIRSA Rec Day T-shirts along with Campus Recreation water bottles, cooling towels and drawstring bags. For students looking to walk away with the Rec Day T-shirt, the department held a photo sweepstakes competition on Instagram.
University of Alabama-Birmingham
All Rec Day events at the University of Alabama-Birmingham took place at the Campus Recreation Center. Activities kicked off at 7 a.m. with a fun run. Furthermore, their schedule incorporated a body fat testing period, a foam rolling showcase and free cycling classes for the whole day.
Students were also encouraged to use #RecDay across social media channels to showcase how they celebrate activity, participation, fitness, sportsmanship and determination.
University at Buffalo
The University at Buffalo’s celebration was separated into four main segments and was held on Friday, February 24. First, Buffalo Recreation hosted a Free-Play session from 10 a.m. to noon where students could patriciate in a variety of yard games like cornhole and Jenga. Then, from 1 to 3 p.m. was the Welcome Back to Gym Class event where participants played classic games often associated with gym classes in grade school.
At night, Buffalo Recreation led a three-on-three basketball tournament at the Ed Wright Practice Facility. For students wanting a more leisure-focused activity, they could visit the Unplug and Play session where free pizza and popcorn, minute-to-win-it games, and more were available to visitors.
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