The January 2022 Rec of the Month is the Amie L. Mathy Center for Recreation and Education at Viterbo University.
The mission of recreation and leadership is to provide educational, recreational, health and well-being opportunities to Viterbo University students and the campus community. This is achieved by:
- Providing access to quality facilities, programs and services.
- Offering activities which encourage healthy choices and personal satisfaction.
- Coordinating opportunities for cooperative and competitive play.
- Ensuring an arena to practice leadership, management, program planning and interpersonal skills.
DESCRIPTION OF FACILITY
The Amie L. Mathy Center for Recreation and Education is a 58,000-square-foot facility. Highlights include:
- Three-court, wood-floored multicourt sport gymnasium.
- Multipurpose room where group fitness classes, mind-body activities, and Boys & Girls Club programming is facilitated.
- The 18,000-square-foot fitness center has been maximized, providing a mix of 50 pieces of cardio, strength and functional training equipment.
- A smaller landing space has been repurposed for functional fitness. The space includes equipment such as kettlebells, medicine balls, stability balls, mats and more.
- An one-eighth-mile indoor track.
The department also provides oversight of the outdoor sand volleyball court. The court is tucked within the residential block of campus. In the warmer months, students can be found playing pick-up games late into the evening.
Competitive Sports and Events
- In a unique partnership, intramural sports are also offered in conjunction with the Wellness Department at Western Technical College to promote sportsmanship and competitive team play between the schools. This partnership allows both schools the ability to increase team and individual participation rates as well as provide consistent, predictable programs for students.
- Events such as the golf scramble, orientation’s night at the rec, monster volleyball and glow nights are popular with Viterbo’s student body.
Fitness and Well-Being
- A variety of fitness classes are offered to the campus community and are free to students. Classes range from yoga, HITT, dance-based fitness and other strength-based classes. Pre-COVID the department offered an average of 20 classes per-week.
- A mix of social media campaigns, challenges, self-defense classes, pet therapy, educational sessions and seminars currently make up the department’s well-being programming. Themed weeks such as Healthy Living Week and Love EVERY Body Week are highlights to the program portfolio. Pet therapy days are always a hit.
- The department has forged a partnership with counseling services and masters in mental health counseling program. The partnership was informal in function until it was formalized within the institution in August 2020. The following initiatives were either launched or expanded in 2020-2021 year:
- Student and employee psycho-education (well-being) sessions.
- Mindfulness and meditation offerings.
- Implementation of a shared practical experience student.
- The development of a wellness coaching program — wellness coaching program development work is ongoing with pilots continuing through the 2021-2022 academic year.
- The department coordinates the campus bike rental program. The rental package includes a bike, helmet and lock. Student day use is free as a result of a collaboration with the Student Government Association. A new bike station was installed as a part of the partnership.
- Limited gear rental is offered to students to access outdoor activities such as hammocks, disc golf sets, slack lines, sleeping bags and tents.
- Outdoor trips currently include opportunities to engage in hiking, biking and snow sports in western Wisconsin and the surrounding area — Driftless region.
At the Amie L. Mathy Center for Recreation and Education, Viterbo University and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse join hand-in-hand as partners to promote the physical, recreational and educational development of students of all ages. This combined facility offers the Boys & Girls Clubs much-needed space to serve the youth of the south side of La Crosse. Likewise, Viterbo benefited from added space which alleviated serious overcrowding in its former Student Activities Center which was built when enrollment was half of what it is today.
This unique Boys & Girls Club/Viterbo University joint project has been one of the first of its kind in the nation to combine assets and strengths of both organizations for the betterment of youth and the surrounding neighborhood. The power to become one will create many opportunities not otherwise possible. Since the facility opened 16 years ago, the Boys & Girls Clubs have a more active presence on La Crosse’s south side. This center addresses the need for a positive and productive place for youth on the south side to be exposed to living and learning experiences.
This partnership has laid the foundation for future partnerships within the greater community, including but not limited to the Weber Center for the performing arts — Viterbo University and the La Crosse Community Theater — and the Skogen Family Boys & Girls Club in Holmen, Wisconsin — partnership between the Holmen School District, the Holmen community and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater La Crosse.
Department leadership works closely with University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Exercise and Sport Science department to offer practical, hands-on experiential opportunities to the fitness majors. Many individuals stay on as members of the fitness team, leading fitness classes and serving as part of the personal training team.
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