Feature Article - June 2007
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Campus Recreation

Popular Programs

Fitness programs, mind/body balance and educational programs head the list of programming opportunities currently offered at college and university facilities, followed by adult sports teams, such as intramural sports, sports tournaments and races, swimming programs, personal training and individual sports activities like running clubs or swimming clubs.

Within the next three years, the most commonly selected programs colleges and universities are planning to add include nutrition and diet counseling, followed by personal training, educational programs, mind/body balance programs like yoga and tai chi, and fitness programs.

But beyond programming, Blumenthal of NIRSA said that the trends in campus recreation fall into three areas: student learning, health and wellness, and sustainability.

"In all of those trends, the campus recreation or recreational sports components are taking what they currently do, and they're expanding the vision of the department and their reach relative to the sustainability and the health and wellness," he said. "As far as student learning, they're starting to use the language and assessment techniques that have been out there in other campus arenas to assess the impact and the positive attributes that campus recreation brings to the whole student."

Multiple respondents cited student wellness as a top concern.

One Illinois-based respondent said, "Working with a college student population, we are finding fewer and fewer healthy students entering college."

Another respondent from Pennsylvania said coming up with new and innovative programming was the main concern, adding that "trying to get the students motivated into caring about their bodies and their well-being" and "trying to motivate the students into caring about their own physical fitness and staying physically fit" were important issues.

The addition of nutrition and diet counseling, as well as personal training, may be due to a tendency among recreation programs to partner with health services to deliver improved wellness to the campus, a trend Blumenthal has noted.

"I've seen that more and more campus recreation programs are collaborating with health services to provide wellness-related services, strength and conditioning counseling and personal training," he said. "Every school seems to be adding personal training to their repertoire with different rules on whether it's outside people who come in, or student workers who get trained and certified to deliver that service. But we are seeing more and more collaboration with campus health services to provide a variety of other kinds of things, like diet and nutrition counseling."

Blumenthal said that Oregon State University has taken this trend to a whole new level. "It's not just that they have student health services out of their department, but they have a whole variety of additional wellness and learning and classes out of there, and I think that trend is expanding."

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