To celebrate the return of students for the spring semester, Utah State University (USU) Campus Recreation hosted its Welcome Week event from January 8-13. The program provided participants with a week full of free activities in the areas of fitness, basketball, climbing and more.
Tayler Davis, the coordinator of Fitness and Wellness, said Campus Recreation usually joins with another group on campus to organize Welcome Week events. But when her department was not included this year, Davis took matters in her own hands.
“I said ‘Let’s do our own Campus Recreation Welcome Week,’” said Davis. “I love the team we have here at USU. I went to everyone, told them my idea and asked if they would be a part of it. For it to be last-minute planning we had a great turnout with events Monday through Saturday.”
Baily Kruzan, the coordinator of Marketing, said the variety of activities held during the event aimed to get different people into Campus Recreation spaces so they could clearly see the department is more than just a gym.
Welcome Week Details and Reaction
The itinerary for the event included:
- Free group fitness classes for students all week.
- A morning yoga class on Monday.
- A free throw contest on Tuesday hoested by Intramurals.
- An evening high fitness class on Wednesday.
- Tasty Thursday featuring sweet potato brownies. Thursday also had an evening Zumba class and a top rope night at the climbing wall for participants.
- A snowshoe hike that was postponed due to high snow totals.
Davis said most of these events also had giveaways and free department swag for attendees like memberships, rental shop coupons, T-shirts and bucket hats.
“I attended all the events; it was fun interacting with them,” said Davis. “A lot of participants were learning more about what we have to offer, and they didn’t even know we offered what we did. They tried classes and things they never have before. They were curious about the rock wall and if they should try it. That’s what I was hoping for with this.”
Kruzan said the reactions from students to Welcome Week was strong and there has been a notable spark in interest in the aftermath. “From the events we put on, we just continued to show students the wide variety of things Campus Rec really has to offer,” she said. “They may come to the gym to workout but never knew we had group fitness classes or outdoor programs trips. It got people excited for other events we will be putting on during the semester.”
Planning for Success
In the planning stages of Welcome Week, Davis said her team made sure to reach out to new people but to also have activities planned for everyone who already knows about Campus Recreation.
“We are always encouraging movement and being active, meeting new people, and trying new things,” said Davis. “Wellness is not just one thing. It’s also about finding a balance to do things for yourself that you enjoy. So having my fellow pro staff on board and knowing what the goal is for the week makes the planning easier.”
Kruzan said the planning stage was a success because the team streamlined its communication, and everyone was on the same page about what the goal was for Welcome Week.
“On the marketing aspect, we got our posters together, pushed everything on social media beforehand, posted while events were happening and reached out to people around campus to help promote it as well,” said Kruzan. “I think the biggest thing was the buy-in that all departments gave for it. Everyone was game to make it a successful week.”
For other schools thinking about creating their own spring semester Welcome Week, Davis recommended to plan well out in advance. For example, she said they are aiming to have a meeting in February to begin preparing for the fall version of the event.
Kruzan added providing a variety of events is essential and participation from pro-staff is also beneficial. “If students see us there participating, it makes them feel like they belong and that we create a welcoming environment,” she said. “I love being at the events as the marketing person because I’m always promoting something else for them to do.”
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