To better meet students where they are, Louisiana State University (LSU) Recreation (UREC) created the UREC on the Geaux program. The initiative utilizes a department bus to bring a range of recreational activities directly to specific groups on campus.
Laurie Braden, the executive director of LSU UREC, said individuals can request the services of UREC on the Geaux and the department will collaborate with each entity they partner with to determine what activities will be provided.
“It’s curated to offer experiences to those specific students in those colleges,” said Braden. “It targets overall well-being. Some colleges on campus may want a mediation or yoga class or a skill-day type of activity. Our return on investment is the students we don’t normally reach, and our reach extends to about 75% of the students on campus. Our hope is we engage with that other 25%.”
Braden said the program is new and the department expects it will take around three years to determine the type of impact it will have. However, she said if they can increase UREC’s reach by 1 or 2%, then they can build upon the program.
Offerings and Benefits
Users of UREC on the Geaux can choose activities from three different packages: Relax and Rejuvenate, Fun and Games, and Teambuilding.
Offerings in Relax and Rejuvenate include yoga, Pilates, meditation, portable esports and hammock pods. In Fun and Games, participants can select from bodyweight/HIIT classes, instructional classes, yard games, outdoor cooking and kiting. Finally, partner or group workouts, dodgeball, and mobile low course elements are available in Teambuilding.
“It’s about building relationships with different colleges on campus,” said Braden of the program. “It benefits us when we’re in different and unique spaces where students may not have seen us at before. It engages them where they are at and increases accessibility. We’re finding what they want and how to tailor these experiences.”
Braden said each college the program worked with in the previous fall semester was excited at the opportunity to offer a unique activity in their spaces. “Overall, UREC on the Geaux is still in its infancy phase and we hope to continue to gain momentum as we continue,” she added. “It’s a lot of trial and error. We’re building this bridge as we walk on it.”
The Future of UREC on the Geaux
Moving forward, Braden said she wants students on campus to tell UREC what the hope of the program should be. Within the department, she said staff is excited to find out what the possibilities could be through the initiative.
“It’s about doing something new and creative,” said Braden. “I’ve not seen this done a lot in this way elsewhere. But what we hope to gain out of this is a way to better serve students who don’t engage with us. If we can determine a clear path of what that looks like, then we’ll pursue that.”
Admittedly, Braden said if the department sees there isn’t a use for UREC on the Geaux at the end of the three-year period, then they will move on.
“I’m not afraid of looking at the input of students and going a different route,” said Braden. “But also, if we see this as a magic elixir and something we need to do more of, then we’ve found a formula for success and we will continue. We’ve been able to get a lot of traction in our talks with colleges on campus when we talk about the benefits of play as it pertains to students’ retention of information. Our hope would be this type of program can become a staple that students look for and seek out as a part of their collegiate experience.”
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