From fun activities to safety measures, many recreation departments have turned to creative campus collaborations to provide opportunities for students during the pandemic.
For example, Chris Fiocchi, senior director of Campus Recreation at Clemson University, said a key partnership for his team was with Emergency Management. âThe only partnership that has really benefited us is the work we’ve done with emergency management over the past year with COVID-19,â Fiocchi said. âThey have been an incredible partner as we have had to constantly adjust and implement plans to keep facilities open and programs running throughout the pandemic.â
Aside from pandemic safety measures, Clemson is also working with the campus physiotherapy office. They do this to bring academic integration into the campus recreation mission. The partnerships also seek to fill internship and internship opportunities for students in health-related fields while providing research opportunities for the recreation team.
Likewise, at Kansas State University, Steve Martini, the director of recreation services, explained that his team has a number of on-campus partnerships that are small but are essential ways for his team to collaborate with. university.
These partnerships include:
- $150 recreational services student employee of the year award donations from the child care supply provider who also donated food for their annual student awards banquet.
- $ 3,000 donated by the University’s Alumni Association to the intramural awards program which is used to purchase champion t-shirts.
- Recreation Services sponsors a drop-off point for the College Pantry, also known as the Cat’s Cupboard.
- The Student Health Center provides student sports coaches to cover all intramural activities on site.
- University parking services provide free parking for students only.
Creative campus collaborations with programming
In addition to operational partnerships, the University of Dayton (UD) campus recreation team worked with several partners to deliver creative programming to students on campus.
In August 2020, Campus Recreation opened Old River Park for student recreation and boating. It is a 43-acre green space with a picnic shelter, bandstand, boathouse, and a one-mile moat adjacent to campus. Prior to fall 2020, Old River Park was significantly underutilized. For example, events and programs took place in limited areas of the park an average of 10 times a year.
âDue to the outdoors being a COVID-19 mitigation framework for social gatherings and the strict programming limitations of the time, Old River Park has become an obvious asset and resource to provide the campus with. regular and healthy residential activities and recreation programs, âsaid Amber Dierking, assistant director of outdoor recreation at UD. âThe campus facilities, grounds and recreation have gone to great lengths to prepare the space and accommodate it before the start of the fall semester.â
ADDITIONAL CREDIT: Three campus recreation professionals explain in detail the value and long-term impacts of internal partnerships.
Thanks to the collaborative efforts to open Old River Park, the location was able to host the first Fall Fest. It was a collaboration between UD Campus Recreation and Campus Activities Board. The event featured:
- Free food from the Dining Service food truck
- Giant inflatables
- A student DJ
- Arts and crafts
- Disc golf
- Pumpkin throwing tournaments.
âThe event was well attended. He recruited students from across campus who do not typically participate in recreational activities on campus to visit the park and try kayaking, âDierking added.
The park also hosted a spring picnic with free food provided by food services the weekend after St. Patrick’s Day. After the event, it continued to be open on Fridays and Saturdays for informal recreation. Creative partnerships during the spring semester included:
- EarthFest, an inter-campus service project providing space for students to prepare the sustainable garden for spring planting.
- UD Dance Ensemble rehearsals and spring recital in open public.
- A Sunset Paddle co-organized by Campus Recreation and UD Late Night.
COVID-19 Associate Admist
Recognizing the continued need for student engagement mitigated by COVID-19, UD Campus Recreation also brought a 4,300 square foot artificial ice rink, with rental skates, to campus from February 3 to March 21, 2021.
âIn response to student demand for increased opportunities to socialize with their clubs and peers, Campus Recreation has made group reservations available free of charge on the rink. We served 30 student organizations and 378 group participants, âsaid Dierking. âThe intramural got creative and offered ice ball and human curling leagues. Both a particularly unique opportunity that created an engaging social opportunity for students to come together, compete and create memories. “
Inspired by the success of the fall festival earlier in the year, UD’s student development division sponsored a Winter Wonderland event held in late February. Winter Wonderland has involved a number of collaborations, including:
- The Center for Student Participation
- Campus activities table
- Leisure on campus
- Catering services
Participants engaged in free skating, human curling, chariot races, snowball battles, a light walk, a DJ and a photo booth. Plus, they could take out and make crafts, or enjoy the free food and hot chocolate provided by catering services.
ADDITIONAL CREDIT: Saint Joseph University has found unlikely partnerships in unique spaces to provide programming opportunities.
UD Campus Recreation also worked with the Residential Housing Association and Flyer Media, a media production team. They offered two residential rivalry tournaments: cornhole and kickball.
âWith no one-to-one marketing opportunities, we looked to our existing relationships on this highly residential campus to help us connect with our students,â said Mark Hoying, associate director of membership and learning services. students at UD. âWe had 136 teams competing in a cornhole tournament. The teams initially competed in divisions based on residential areas – residences, apartments or streets. Then they competed in an all-campus championship. In fact, 276 students attended the two-day event.
Since there was no NCAA sports in the fall, Hoying said Flyer Media was looking for work for its broadcast students. For example, the semi-final and championship matches were broadcast live on Flyer Media’s YouTube channel. The show was accompanied by play-by-play, secondary reporting and multi-camera production. This created a win-win situation for all collaborations.
And when it comes to creating these winning scenarios, keeping the campus community and students in mind first will contribute to a positive experience for every partner involved in creative collaborations on campus.