Top Tips of Campus Rec Experts in 2019

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In each issue of Campus Rec Magazine, we seek the expert advice to answer your most pressing questions. Below is a recap of the best advice from professionals in the industry on the top trending 2019 campus recreation topics.

In the January/February issue, we spoke with Dylan Wray, the recreation program specialist and esports coordinator at the University of North Texas, about esports.

Campus Rec: What are three lessons you’ve learned over the years when it comes to creating a successful esports program?

Dylan Wray: One: successful program has people that are good at managing people. Two: Solo casting on twitch is easy; putting on a broadcast for an actual game with casters and observers is complicated. You need to know what can be easy wins for your program, and what challenges you need to work up to with your resources. Three: Esports management is just Discord and spreadsheets. Organization and communication are your two greatest allies.

In the March/April issue, we spoke with Skyler Rorabaugh, the director of campus recreation at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, about budgeting.

CR: How do you decide on the budget for the year/where funds are going to be allocated? What does that process look like?

Skylar Rorabaugh: The entire planning process takes about six months to complete. Our process for budget planning is a multi-faceted approach:

  1. Research and forecast changes in our fixed costs.
  2. Coordinate with our finance office to best predict student fee revenue, as well as our shared services model expenditures.
  3. Collectively work with our facility services and IT departments as well as our campus recreation facility operations and administrative team to update our 10-year capital outlay plan for purchases greater than $5,000.
  4. Meet as a team to establish our departmental and work unit goals, and review strategic plan initiatives to best understand and guide our budget planning process in order to meet those goals.
  5. Complete departmental unit budget planning requests based from the aforementioned collection of information.
  6. Return these submitted budgets to each unit with revisions as necessary, and with an explanation as deemed necessary for any modifications made.
  7. Finalize our capital outlay plan and operating budgets in coordination with our auxiliary finance office and division administration based on the best information available to us at the time.

In the May/June issue, we spoke with Cassiopeia Camara, the administrative assistant at Colorado State University, about green technology.

CR: What is your advice on adding green technology to a campus recreation center?

Cassiopeia Camara: While some of the items such as Connect2Concepts may seem expensive, they can be worth their value in time saved and environmental impact. If products like these aren’t an option, our biggest piece of advice is no action is too small: choose energy-efficient appliances moving forward, research eco-friendly companies, pick-up that piece of litter, recycle paper and make a difference where you can.

In the July/August issue, we spoke with Aaron Mowen, the director of campus recreation at Saginaw Valley State University, about club sports.

CR: What are the top things it takes to make a club sport successful?

Aaron Mowen: The success of a club sport is rooted by student leaders. They must be individuals who are dedicated to more than just playing the sport. The club leaders need to be organized and able to balance academic, social and club responsibilities. It can be challenging to lead your peers, and interpersonal communication skills must be polished to have all members of the team steered toward the established goals.

In the September/October, we spoke with Casey Plastek, the assistant director at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, about Group X.

CR: What is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to overseeing Group X offerings?

Casey Plastek: No. 1 is determining what is a fad versus a trend so when you are investing time, space, money and personnel into a new format it is sustainable. I think a close second would be staying on top of instructors’ teaching methods and ensuring they align with the department mission and vision.

In the November/December issue, we spoke with Colleen McKenna, the director at CannonDesign’s sports, recreation and wellness practice, about renovations.

CR: When looking to start a renovation, what are the top three things you take into consideration?

Colleen McKenna: There’s no singular recipe for successful renovation projects, but here are three steps that should inform essentially all such efforts:

  • Know Your Resources: University and campus leadership should execute a facility audit of the building to fully understand its physical condition. This will bring to light any deficiencies, and help inform strategy and prioritize investments.
  • Know Your Plan: Before beginning a renovation project, campus rec leadership should talk to their campus architect or planner. This way they can ensure all efforts are connected to campus masterplans and visions for the future.

Define Stakeholders: Today’s recreation centers can bring together all different teams and departments in exciting new ways. It’s important to define all the stakeholders who will help shape the renovation to ensure their voices are heard from Day One.

Brittany Howard
Brittany is an assistant editor at Peake Media. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com

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