SJU Campus Recreation: The O’Pake Recreation Center

SJU Campus Recreation

The July 2021 Rec of the Month is the O’Pake Recreation Center, home to Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) Campus Recreation. 


A Jesuit Catholic University located in the city of Philadelphia and its Main Line, SJU provides a demanding yet supportive educational experience with a philosophy that has endured since 1851. Our mission is to prepare students for personal excellence, professional success and engaged citizenship.

Campus Rec Mission Statement: Provide inclusive and integrated wellness programs, educational opportunities and competitive sports that encourage our students to embrace a lifetime of wellness.


SJU Campus Recreation

O’Pake Recreation Center

The O’Pake Recreation Center serves as the central hub of fitness and recreation for the SJU community. It includes:

  • Strength center, featuring free weights, selectorized machines and accessories.
  • Cardio center, featuring treadmills, cross trainers, bikes and rowers.
  • Functional training equipment featuring kettlebells, battle ropes and resistance bands, dumbbells and slam balls.
  • Group exercise room.
  • Two indoor basketball courts.
  • Six-lane, 25-yard pool.
  • Locker rooms.

Maguire Tennis Courts

  • Features six courts.

Merion Hall Esports Lab

  • 24 high-end, fastest-available gaming stations. Powered by the Intel Core i9-9900K CPUs and nVidia RTX 2080 GPUs.
  • Equipped with a 24-inch ViewSonic 1920 by 1080 gaming monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate and Logitech accessories.
  • Stations are arranged in clusters of six to enhance team play.
  • One coaching station connected to a ViewSonic 65-inch interactive display for teams to review, interact and annotate over top of gameplay footage.
  • Dimmable LED lighting.
  • Sound panels and carpeted floors to lessen audio reverberation for concentration.
  • Highly ergonomic chairs enabling hours of competition.

SJU Campus Recreation

Sweeney Field

Nestled into the heart of campus and featuring a state-of-the-art TigerTurf playing surface as well as seating for 3,000, the facility was christened Sweeney Field in the fall of 2013 upon the completion of an extensive expansion project. It is the home for club sport competitions for the rugby, soccer, lacrosse and Gaelic football teams.

SJU Campus Recreation


  • SJU has earned silver status and the “COVID Conqueror” badge as a member of the Exercise is Medicine on-campus program sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine.
  • SJU supports 27 club sport teams that range from instructional to highly competitive. Two of the newest clubs are esports and powerlifting.
  • In Fall 2020, SJU’s grassroots esports club was elevated to a club sports team with additional resources for training and administration. The university’s esports initiative is multi-faceted and features a tech-forward, multi-use lab; academic coursework and student experiences with a club sport option for students interested in entering the gaming network and industry.
  • This year, SJU hosted two health and wellness days intended for students to focus on their own well-being and take a much-needed break. Campus Recreation coordinated trail walks, yoga classes and strength competitions for the community.

  • SJU offers multiple intramural sports and leagues throughout the academic year for students to participate in. These sports include flag football, volleyball, basketball, softball and indoor soccer with room for growth depending on student interest and involvement. Students have the choice to participate in men’s, women’s or coed leagues which gives students the opportunity to compete on different levels and meet new people while doing so. At the end of each season, champions are crowned and compete in the Philadelphia City 6 Tournament.
  • SJU is a charter member of the Philadelphia City 6. The Philadelphia City 6 invites intramural champions from four team sports — flag football, volleyball, basketball and softball — to compete for the title of best in the city. The Philadelphia City 6 is composed of Drexel University, LaSalle University, SJU, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University. It was initiated in 1986 by representatives from Temple University and SJU.

SJU Campus Recreation

  • SJU offers daily group fitness classes for the entire community which includes Zumba, barre, HIIT, strength training and yoga.
  • The most popular program of 2020-2021 was the outdoor Hawk Hill strength competition in which the strongest student on campus was named.


  • This year, the varsity men’s and women’s rowing coaches volunteered to run outdoor, socially-distanced rowing classes for the students and employees. The classes were held twice a week and students and employees could reserve their spot on the erg using the campus recreation reservation system. Classes were held on a grass field adjacent to the recreation center. Those classes were added to the larger group fitness menu with great success. The collaboration was considered a win for both partners. Campus recreation was excited to be able to offer a high level of instruction in a group setting and the rowing coaches were able to promote their sport to a new audience.

  • Campus recreation is one of the largest employers of student staff on campus. Students love to work as lifeguards, fitness monitors, intramural officials, scorekeepers, supervisors and instructors.
  • The university has a 12-acre arboretum on its campus, which is astonishingly diverse for its size with more than 2,500 taxa of woody and herbaceous plants, many rare. Students can retreat to the grounds for a walk on the trail or relax in the grass.
  • Saint Joseph’s mascot, the Hawk, has been flapping its wings since 1956 as one of the most decorated mascots in college sports. Recognized over the years by ESPN College Basketball Magazine, Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News as a top college mascot, the Hawk represents the university battle cry: “The Hawk Will Never Die” by flapping its wings non-stop — even during halftime — throughout every basketball game.
  • Our 125-acre campus offers students the best of both worlds, intersecting a vibrant Philadelphia neighborhood with a charming, historic Main Line suburb. When you come to SJU, you’ll have easy access to all of the endless opportunities the nation’s sixth largest city has to offer.

Want to stay up-to-date on SJU Campus Recreation? 

  • Instagram: @sjuhawks_rec
  • Twitter: @sjuhawks_rec
  • Facebook: SJU Campus Recreation
  • Website:

Photos courtesy of Saint Joseph’s University Campus Recreation. 

Brittany is an editor at Peake Media. Reach her at

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