Many people think of campus recreation centers simply as gyms. This makes sense given that there is much overlap in what both gyms and recreation centers do.
However, there are important distinctions that differentiate them from each other. The biggest distinction is that a campus recreation center is run by a recreation department. It is important to understand this when promoting the value the recreation department brings to your campus.
Simply, a gym is a physical location housing fitness equipment and machines where people can go for a workout. Conversely, a campus recreation facility offers similar equipment and machines, but is run by a department of recreation.
These departments are made up of professionals who ensure the programs and services offered at campus recreation centers have an impact on student learning outcomes. These outcomes provide many benefits for students, such as student recruitment, retention and well-being.
Following are a few things to consider when proving campus recreation is more than a gym:
Campus recreation facilities and the programs provided at these facilities remain an important factor for student recruitment. There are many factors that go into a student’s decision in choosing a school. However, the state of recreation facilities and programs offered are often reported to have an influence on their decision.
Not only are more and more prospective students and their parents expecting to see state-of-the-art recreation centers, but the programs and services available to support their non-academic needs are just as influential.
Many students look for college campuses to provide co-curricular activities and programs to address their needs outside of the classroom. Recreation facilities can be an important part in the overall college experience.
Theories on student retention are often based on the ability of the college freshmen to integrate into the campus community both academically and socially. Research shows that increased persistence occurs among students who are involved in campus activities. Joining intramural sports teams or attending a group exercise class serve as great ways for students to integrate.
Health and Well-Being
There is a correlation between healthy behaviors and academic success among college students.
Some might see spending time at the rec center shooting hoops, lifting weights or swimming laps as a waste of time or distraction from studying. However, physical activity in any form does so much more.
Participating in physical activity at campus recreation centers leads to healthy lifestyle behaviors that help students cope with stress and achieve better sleep. It can also reduce the risk of illness and disease so students are not distracted or feel the need to take time away from their studies to manage stress, get more rest or recover from being sick.