Feature Article - June 2008
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Fit and Healthy on Campus

A Look at Trends in Recreation at Colleges & Universities

Many colleges and universities have gotten on a bandwagon of constructing ever-bigger and more complex recreation centers as a way to attract more students to their campuses. Others rely on older facilities, but most schools place at least some emphasis on fitness and wellness activities for their students.

Respondents from colleges and universities represented the second-largest segment of the survey, at 13.5 percent. The majority of these—57 percent—represented public institutions, while another 30 percent said they worked for private, nonprofit schools.

The respondents from colleges and universities were about evenly spread between different types of communities, with a bit more than a third coming from urban (33.8 percent) and rural (33.5 percent) communities, and a bit less than a third reporting in from suburban locations (32.7 percent).

Likewise, the respondents were well distributed throughout the United States. As with the general survey respondents, more reported in from the Midwest—29.6 percent—than any other region. This was followed by the Northeast at 20.2 percent, the South Central states at 18 percent, the South Atlantic states at 17.6 percent, and the Western states at 13.5 percent. Another 1.1 percent of respondents from colleges and universities said they worked for schools outside the United States.

Respondents from university and college facilities indicated that they were less likely than others to partner with external organizations. Nearly a quarter (24.3 percent) said they did not partner with any other organizations, compared to 15 percent of all respondents. When they did choose to form partnerships, they were most likely to team up with other colleges and universities. Nearly 46 percent indicated that their facilities had formed such partnerships. The second most likely partner for colleges and universities was local schools. Around a third (33 percent) indicated they had formed a partnership with local schools. Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) also indicated that they had partnered with nonprofit organizations. The least likely partners for colleges and universities were private health clubs. Only 1.5 percent indicated that they had partnered with a private health club. Interestingly, 12.2 percent had partnered with a YMCA, YWCA or JCC, perhaps as a way to allow students to gain access to greater fitness and recreational programming.