With the youth obesity epidemic in the U.S., one of the biggest struggles can be working with kids and young adults that aren’t educated about fitness or wellness. Therefore, it’s vital for a recreation department to be designed to educate these students as quickly as possible, once they are on campus.
“Most freshmen have little to no knowledge of fitness, unless they were an athlete in high school,” explained Stacey Adams, the manager of fitness and wellness at The University of Akron. “We find that they quickly connect with a group of other students to learn together, or become mentored by someone with more knowledge.”
What also helps to onboard these young adults, according to Adams, has been group exercise classes, intramural sports, weightlifting competitions and personal training. “We widely advertise our offerings, and have information sessions for students to learn about club sports, intramurals and group fitness,” she said.
Additionally, Adams strives to develop “fun-based themes” on activities and parties to help establish camaraderie among the student body. “In addition to our staffing, we believe our equipment and environmental resources make our facility one of the best in the country,” she said. “We strive to keep this environment lively, clean and modern.
“Since we are the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, our primary focus is having the equipment and programming that continues to draw our community in. We track numbers very closely and survey our patrons when necessary about our services.”
Understanding your useage and what new students may desire from your facilities can truly help your facility. How do you typically reach your incoming students? Are you providing them with enough new programming to really get them involved?