When I asked Steven Trotter, the director of well-being at East Carolina University, his thoughts on the 2022 Campus Rec Leadership Summit, one thing he said really stuck out to me.
“When I think about summing up the people that are here, this group, we are the change makers on our campus,” he said. “And if anyone is going to change the face of higher education, we are going to do it.”
Writing that gives me chills, in a good way. And he was right. The meeting room at The Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, California, was full of change makers during the 2.5 days of the Summit last week. They had change-making discussions over some big topics.
As such, I’ve pulled a handful of takeaways from the roundtables and EDI Panel Discussion to share with you all — the change-makers of the industry — below. It will give you a recap of the 2022 Leadership Summit and what’s coming down the pipeline for the industry to be aware of:
EDI Panel Discussion
Led by Wendy Motch-Ellis, Andrea Snead and Demond Pryor
- “The question is, ‘Is providing people what they need to be successful another way of helping people thrive?’ This is what we mean by equity.” – Wendy Motch-Ellis, an industry consultant.
- What would it mean to be an abolitionist/co-conspirator today? It means to put something on the line for someone; take a risk!
- Diversity is NOT Black; diversity is everything around the NIRSA EDI Commission’s Identity Wheel.
- Vendors, who are you working with? How can you be part of what they are doing?
- How are you using your privilege as a leader to make the environment you work in inclusive?
- Consistency comes from if you say something, DO IT.
Want more on EDI work and programs in the industry? Check out this article.
Roundtable 1: Financial Recovery and Restoration
In just over two years the industry has experienced reduction in force and catastrophic financial losses to its institutions. With that trickle-down impact, many have been asked to do more with less and also do less better. What can the leaders do to recover and restore positions and regain pre-pandemic impact levels?
- Be transparent with staff and members of what’s going on; give them the why — younger employees want to know “why.”
- Share the data that you have. As vendors, share the why behind the price increases (i.e. cost of steel, recession impacts, etc.).
- Rethink engagement! First generation and minority students don’t see that engaging helps them be successful; they are not equating participating with campus rec as part of their success.
- The people who we serve are struggling financially. So, if employees make a certain pay, give them half price membership. Or look at income driven memberships.
Roundtable 2: Leadership Staff Strategies
What are each of you doing in your departments as it relates to talent recruitment and retention and how is your division and institution adjusting in terms of human resource policies?
- Verbally value employees and how much they mean to the organization; a simply thank you can go a long way.
- We are facing the challenge of people not even wanting to work right now, on the professional and student level.
- Upward mobility — how to support staff in a move to a different field or related industry.
- Make sure people know the full quality of the job and all the other benefits they get.
Check out this article on “Curing Toxic Work Cultures” for more relevant content.
Roundtable 3: Enhance Your Programming
Evaluating program trends from fitness, intramurals, club sports, adventure and holistic recreation, and all other program offerings, what is trending this year? And how are you responding to trends that may be fads and fads that may become trends? Who are you partnering with across campus and in your communities?
- Student lounge space — create some sticky spaces in your venue. They use these areas for building community, doing studying, chatting with people, etc.
- Esports is a trend; it lands in the middle of the work we do in rec. It’s a huge group of folks that didn’t connect with the rec center prior. Also, think: there is a medical tie in with robots in surgery to this population!
- First generation students feel like they are representing their family or their communities so they have pressure to be successful. As such, if they are not seeing the correlation to success, they won’t do it. How do we get them to see campus rec is part of their success?
Roundtable 4: Future of Campus Recreation
What lies ahead for the 2022-2023 academic year and beyond? Discuss what trends seem to be the most prevalent in the industry and where campus recreation is headed.
- What are we doing to make sure the face of rec is not just a place of play? Rather, in addition to the play, we serve as an academic and wellness place.
- Rethinking studio space — recovery, stretching, etc. How do we change our studios to be closer to boutique style?
- With boutique fitness, dropping our ego with what we have to own and instead 100% focus on how to best serve our students.
- The system of higher ed is a little broken. Are we challenging those systems we are trying to create solutions in?
If you had FOMO during the 2022 Campus Rec Leadership Summit, then mark these dates in your calendar: We are heading to the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa June 20-22, 2023 in Bonita Springs, Florida. New attendee and sponsor spots will open July 15, 2022. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. See you there!
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