Recognition of Campus Recreation


Hello Campus Recreation World!

Jason and I just finished recording two of our new podcast for the year of 2019 and we will have those out to you this month. As far as what has been happening in our world, essentially a lot. For myself personally, I received a promotion which means more responsibility, but a chance to learn, grow and add to my repertoire. As for Jason he was on vacation for some time and then of course we both had staff trainings, setting of expectations, new goals all of the necessary items to have in order to keep the facilities and programs functioning for the upcoming semester.

With the new podcast episodes coming out we finally were able to get around to answering some great questions and discussing some topic submissions. One of the topics you will see coming in the future is in regards to the name Campus Recreation. 

The topic submissions states, “The impact of calling a department campus recreation or just recreation is debatable.  Depending on what campus you are on and how integral you are seen to the institution, it can be limiting or conjure up images that are not as helpful (place to play but not to grow).  In some cases, I could argue that this perception may impact resources allocated to the department.  There are some departments that have changed their name from just Campus Recreation to Recreation and Wellness, etc. (examples are Oakland University, Minnesota I believe) to illustrate the importance of wellness on the quality of life and the role the department can play in that.”

Jason and I were able to take the time and breakdown this topic and I have to say this was a great topic to bring to the table. Within our current climate and with universities becoming more privatized in the future, due to diminishing state appropriations, it is a relevant topic/question to ask. Should we change the name of campus recreation?  If you checkout the upcoming podcast you can see our views on the topic as well as what has led to the change in department titles.

However, one main point that I would like to make within this blog is the recognition of campus recreation and the important role that Historically Black Colleges & Universities played in the development of student recreation centers and NIRSA. With the month of February being Black History month and our topic of discussion for the podcast beginning with the history of campus recreation I felt that it was imperative for us to dive into the development of NIRSA and student recreation centers.

Throughout history prior to Dr. William Wasson and others, there was little research in showing the quality and importance of campus recreation within a higher education institution. The focus was mainly on developing physical education outlets and failed to realize the overall positive development on campus life. However, in 1948 Dr. Wasson established a study of intramural programs within HBCU’s, which found the strong importance that campus recreation plays in a university setting. After sharing his findings with all the universities involved the decision was made to hold a meeting on February 22, 1950. As NIRSA states, “20 intramural directors gathered there, representing 11 Historically Black Colleges & Universities, formed the National Intramural Association.” After the organization began to grow and add more members the NIA was renamed to the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA).

Therefore, we felt that it was important, especially during this month, to recognize those that have come before us and assisted in laying the foundations for NIRSA and all campus recreation centers across the country.

Till next time, “Keep Listening to Keep Learning.”

Tommy Willis