Feature Article - June 2010
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A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities


n colleges and universities across the country, recreation centers offer a way to entice new students and keep existing students fit and entertained, while sporting facilities provide an outlet for more serious athletes.

In fact, a focus on educating students and instilling in them a lifelong commitment to wellness is a central mission of many campus facilities.

One respondent said general fitness and wellness was the top concern, adding: "Exposing and educating university students to the overall importance of wellness and lifestyle choices" is crucial.

Another respondent was concerned about the general fitness level of the students. "Being a university, the access to and level of fitness of the incoming students is poor," this respondent said. "We want to change that lifestyle so that they become lifelong fitness enthusiasts."

Nearly one-third (32.7 percent) of respondents from colleges and universities reported in from the Midwest. Smaller numbers of respondents in this category came from other regions of the country: 17.6 percent of college/university respondents were from the Northeast; 17.3 percent were from the South Atlantic; 16.7 percent were from the South Central region; and 15.5 percent were from the West.

Respondents from colleges and universities were more likely to be from urban areas than from suburban or rural areas. Some 40.2 percent of these respondents said they worked in urban areas, while 30.1 percent were from suburban areas, and 29.8 percent were from rural areas.

Typically college and university respondents indicated that they manage between one and three facilities—about two-thirds (66.4 percent) of these respondents said they manage this smaller number of facilities. Another 17.9 percent said they manage four or five facilities.

College and university respondents were slightly less likely than other survey respondents to report that they had formed partnerships with other organizations. That said, a majority—81.5 percent—said they had formed partnerships. The most common partners among colleges and universities were other colleges and universities: 59.1 percent of college/university respondents said they had partnered with other colleges and universities. These were followed by local schools and school districts (37.3 percent of college/university respondents had partnered with them); state government (30.6 percent); local government (25.5 percent); and nonprofit organizations (23.9 percent).