Laying the Groundwork


Making your campus the most attractive option to potential students is a monumental task, and also one of the most important to keep a college thriving and growing. The campus rec center plays a major role in recruiting students of all athletic interests. But how do they differentiate from all the other campus rec centers? What makes them the most appealing option to make students say, “This is where I want to be”?

While there are a variety of factors at play in that decision, one factor rarely mentioned is the quality of the rec center floor. High school athletes who enter college without committing to college level sports, but still want to be active, will choose to participate in intramural sports. Campus directors all over the U.S. know their health and safety are just as important as the college level athlete, so why not tell them during the touring stage?

It is easy to understand how this message can be overlooked. Plus, it is not as exciting to talk about as the rock climbing walls or the massage suites. So how can rec centers use this to their advantage and let students know their safety is a top priority? Here are a few tips for ensuring this message is relayed to potential new students:

Advertise it.

More and more rec centers are putting up signage with information about the sports floor that can be attached to the gymnasium wall. The name of the floor and how it helps athletes is the perfect place to start. Placing it on a wall will allow parents to be educated about the facility floor during campus tours. After all, parents of college students invested thousands of dollars in the right shoes, braces, padding, helmets, etc. to protect their child in their youth sports. They would be happy to learn about your commitment to do the same. You can also provide similar information on the rec center website and in brochures.

Train the trainers.

Make sure you get the staff in charge of activities and intramural sports involved and educated so they can speak about the effort and emphasis that is put on safety from the ground up. Many kids involved in youth sports know the rules of stretching, staying hydrated, wearing the right shoes, etc. but do they know how a bad floor can affect them during sports, especially later in life? There is no better person for that information to come from than the staff they trust and look up to.

Give them a piece of the floor.

There is no better way to connect the dots than to give people something tangible to tie it to. If you have recently purchased a new floor or plan to purchase one in the future, you can purchase extra pieces of the new floor and brand it with your school logo to hand out during campus tours. Pieces of memorabilia are always a welcomed gift.

Regardless of the approach taken to make your school most appealing to new students, one thing is certain: You must differentiate your school from all the others. What makes you different? You care most about the students and their healthy, successful futures, so why not share that in a unique and memorable way that not only has an impact on their decision, but also on their future in intramural sports.


Jamie Darpel is the marketing manager at Robbins Sports Surfaces. She can be reached at or visit


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