Feature Article - June 2008
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Fit and Healthy on Campus


Staffing issues were considered a major concern by more than a quarter (25.9 percent) of respondents from colleges and universities. One manager of campus recreation from a Pennsylvania college said, "If we continue to grow, we will need to increase our staff, and we don't know if we will have the resources to do so."

Staffing is also a concern among schools because of the high rate of built-in turnover among workers at college recreation facilities. Luckily, many have excellent training programs in place and are well-adapted to dealing with this natural turnover that occurs as students graduate and as new freshmen enter the school.

College and university respondents indicated that their facilities employed far fewer people than respondents from other categories, and they also were expecting a much smaller increase in the number of people they employ over the next few years. Respondents projected a 14.3 percent increase from 95.7 employees on average currently to around 109.4 on average in 2011.

This is driven largely by growth in the number of volunteers these facilities rely on, at 35.9 percent. They also are expecting a 19.1 percent jump in the number of part-time employees. On the other hand, college and university facilities were anticipating a drop of 3.9 percent in the average number of full-time workers they employed, and a near 10 percent drop in the number of seasonal employees.

A vast majority (93.8 percent) of respondents from colleges and universities indicated that they currently require certification of some kind for their employees. In the future, a full 95.8 percent indicated that they plan to require certification.

The most common certification required, by far, was CPR, AED or First Aid certification, More than 90 percent of colleges and universities required some of their employees to earn one of these critical life-saving certifications. This was followed by lifeguarding certifications, required by 65.4 percent of respondents' facilities. More than a third also indicated that they required a personal training or fitness-related certification, a background check or an aquatic management or pool operations certification.