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Greetings everyone!

The NIRSA Assembly is off to a strong and productive start for the 2014-2015 term. With several returning members, as well as an assortment of fresh, new faces to the group, the Assembly has begun diving into numerous topics that we feel are of importance to the future of collegiate recreation. 

The term started off with several initial conference calls to orient the new members to their role as an Assembly member, and to brainstorm the topics we wanted to address over the next several months. With  no shortage of ideas, we were able to narrow down what we felt were the most pressing topics that could be a benefit to the NIRSA membership. 

These topics include:
  • Staffing Issues Within Campus Rec
  • Digital Badging for Student Competencies
  • Inclusion: ADA Programming
  • The Future of Sport Clubs
  • Creative Funding, Outsourcing, and Budget Neutral Recreation

Our work-teams for each topic have been formed, and each team is beginning their research on their topics, but we need your help! If you have any suggestions or questions for us to look into for any of these topics, or if you have ideas for future topics of interest, please reach out to us by email at, utilize the Assembly Blog on Connect, or reach out to any of the Assembly members personally, and we will be happy to relay your input to the appropriate work-team!

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I've always said raising children was an excellent testing ground for leadership development. Attention span of children is  short and very frequently my children would turn around with that Scooby Doo type look and say, "What are we doing again?"  That's a good question.
In campus recreation, there are times I think we all need to ask ourselves this question.  What are we doing again?  What's our purpose.  

Recently I came along a video from Leadercast with Andy Stanley and he incorporated these three questions when developing a mission statement. They are excellent and I keep a self-made poster of them next to the my desk to reflect everyday.  

"What are we doing?"
"Why are we doing it?"
"Where do I fit in?"

If you can answer these questions with very short and to-the-point one sentence answers, you know where you are going!  Try's harder than it seems.  

What are we (recreation on university campuses) doing?  Are we mentoring student employees?  Are we developing well-rounded college students?  What ARE we doing?

Why are we doing it?  Are we providing these services to reduce stress, to develop wellness, to simply provide fun?  There has to be a purpose.

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Alice Cooper once sang, "Schools out for summer, schools out forever".  Alice didn't have it right.  School is now out for the summer, but the transition means I begin assessing what went right during the last school year and what could we have improved upon.

Goal setting is important to keep me motivated whether it is personal or professional. A former boss asked us each summer to put together a list of things we wanted to accomplish over these three months - both personal and professional and I've found it a very helpful activity.  Time slips away too quickly.  Fellow staff members have vacations scheduled, weddings to attend, new grandchildren being born.  If we don't schedule time to accomplish those tasks needed over summer we soon find September staring us in the face and nothing crossed off the list.

Here are a few ideas I can suggest for summer goals:
  1. Schedule a sit down meeting with your Business Manager of Finance person to understand your own area budget and what it costs to accomplish your programming each year.  What will affect the upcoming year's budget?  What rules have changed regarding purchasing?  Better to get this information ahead of time than too late.
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Hello NIRSA Colleagues - 

Many of your 2013-2014 Assembly Members were present at this years NIRSA Annual Conference. What a wonderful week of learning and networking. 

Assembly members had the opportunity to spend time together at our "Assembly Table" next to conference registration, our team meeting as well as our Assembly Town Hall. We spent a great deal of time continuing to educate the NIRSA on what the Assembly is and what exactly we have been working on. We solicited ideas for our "buckets of thoughts" from the members and provided updates on our work this year. 

NIRSA members and colleagues provided great ideas surrounding areas of impact for our profession including, but not limited to, unifying sports programs, grant funding ideas, collaborations with local/community recreation and recreation departments under athletics. We had great discussions at our town hall and appreciate the great thinking and talking that went on. 

As the Assembly wraps up our time together (a few more months) for this year, we want to thank our fearless leader, Darcy Bingham. We will soon welcome new members as well as a new board liaison, Tony Daniels! 
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Assembly Meeting Notes

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  1. Welcome & Roll Call (Online Assembly Roster)

    Attendance:  Darcy Bingham, Jeff Vessely, Troy Snow, Earl Cabellon, JT Timmons, Jessica Gentry, Kristen Brosious, Nicole Garton,

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Southern Miss is currently seeking qualified applicants for the Intramural Sports and Sport Clubs Graduate Assistant position. Qualifications include a bachelor’s degree and experience working for a Collegiate Recreation Department. CPR, AED and First Aid certifications along with experience in sports officiating and programming is preferred. Please visit for additional information. Interested applicants should email their cover letter and resume to or mail to 118 College Drive #5155, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001. 

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Dear Ira -
I find your inquiry very interesting. You want to know:

1.)  From your experiences, what do you think the main differences are between the way private sector gyms and the way campus recreation departments connect their members (existing or new) to their fitness programs, services and facilities?  

2.)  From your experiences, what do you think the main differences are between private sector gym fitness and wellness programming and campus recreation department's fitness and wellness programming? 

3.)  What are some things you believe we as campus recreation professionals could take from the private sector gym membership connectivity and fitness/wellness programming and apply to our campus recreation departments?

I have worked both in Campus Rec and the Private Sector.  I have been an instructor and manager in both areas. What I see as a significant difference begins with the divergent focus.  Campus Rec often looks at the student without awareness or sensitivity to the professors, alumni or outside members.  Those 3 segments of the population seem to be an oversight or a burden.  Sometimes, it is all about the students in Campus Rec.  Now this is not a bad thing ... it is just "the" thing.  Unfortunately, it is the later group (profs, alums and the public) that tends to pay more (or be the only paying members) at times.  This creates frustration for them, and sometimes affects their membership choices. 
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NIRSA Colleagues -


The Assembly continues its energy and focus around this year’s topics, which include: Core Competencies, Academic Alliances/Core Curriculum, Creative Funding/Outsourcing/Budget Neutral Recreation and Inclusive Programming. The work teams have been hard at work researching, discussing and even preparing recommendations for the BOD around these topics.

If you are interested or feel you have valuable information regarding these specific areas, we always encourage and support dialogue amongst the members. The Assembly will also have a session again at the Annual Conference in Nashville. If you have any ideas brewing inside, we will be considering new topics for investigation.

Also, in thinking ahead, the applications for a seat on the Assembly will become available in March. If you are interested in our forward- thinking group whose focus lies on issues of influence specific to the profession, then this may be for you! Hang tight for more timeline information. 
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In a recent conversation with my sister, I learned that she was one of the many whose New Year’s Resolution involved losing weight and going to the gym.  To help her keep this resolution, she decided to hire a personal trainer. She made her selection based on two criteria:  1) she saw this person in the gym regularly  and 2) he looked like he was in good shape.

When I asked her about his training and certification, she had no idea.  Her response to me was, “How am I supposed to know?  I assume the gym wouldn’t allow him to train there if he wasn’t qualified!” 

I think my sisters assumptions and response are all too common.  How does the average consumer know what makes a “qualified”, “competent” trainer? Even if they are “certified”, in a self-regulated industry, are all certifications equal?   Is certification enough to distinguish someone as qualified and competent? 

So I sent my sister back to ask her trainer the following questions:

1.  Is he certified?  If so, what did his certification require?  What other education and training does he have?  Is his certification current and what type of continuing education has he taken to maintain his certification?

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Wake Forest University is recruiting for a new Associate Director, Campus Recreation, Programs, and Facilities in our Campus Recreation Department.  Please visit to find out more and apply!
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My involvement in social media has snuck up on me!  Sure, I used Facebook to reconnect with old friends and become more connected and involved in the lives of my friends and family.  But in the past year, I’ve found myself using social media for business purposes.  I’m blogging, tweeting, following, friending, tagging, and all sorts of other things that I never expected to be doing!  In the beginning, it felt overwhelming, but I’ve learned a few things that have made it more manageable that I thought I’d share.  I’m hoping that you will share your tips too!

 1.         Be strategic about what you share and where.  It is tempting to want to send everything everywhere.  But it may not be the best approach.  Figure out where your audience “hangs-out” in the social media world and go where they are with the messages that will interest them.

 2.         Separate your personal social media communications from your personal ones.  There’s nothing wrong with letting your business audience get to know you on a personal level, but they don’t need to see pictures of you and your friends celebrating on a Friday night or be privy to your personal information and activities, or your friends’ activities—which you can’t control.

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Your NIRSA Assembly has been hard at work.  Currently, the work teams within the Assembly are focusing on the following topics:  Academic Alliances/Core Curriculum, Inclusion (specifically veteran programming and ADA), Creative Funding/ Outsourcing/Budget Neutral Recreation and the Core Competencies.  The teams have found some valuable information and hope to make more strides in the upcoming months. As we continue to be the “think tank” for our organization we hope to develop strong recommendations and guidelines centered on these topics for departments to utilize. We are getting there, but there is much work to be done!


Your Assembly members have also been seen representing at many of the state and regional workshops, where we are looking to share with the NIRSA what the Assembly is, what we are working on and listen to what ideas you may have. We have received great suggestions and have engaged in interesting and vibrant conversations so far. As we wrap up state and regional conferences in the next few months, we hope for even more feedback from the NIRSA members.

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The deadline for nominations for the 2014 Honor Award is November 1, 2013 (FRIDAY!)  Nominate the person who changed your life and helped you to soar - your mentor.

Please send your nomination along with 3 recommendation letters and their resume to the Chair of the Honor Award Committee. (

Here are a few tips to help you in drafting your nomination letter and/or support letter:

1. Remember to show how this individual was involved in volunteer leadership.
Give concrete examples i.e. served as an active member of three national committees, and served as chair of two.
2. Solid well described examples are critical to all of the selection criteria. Don't just say how wonderful this person is, give examples of how they meet or exceed the criteria.
3. List ways the person has provided support to students and professionals.
4. Note significant contributions they’ve made to their workplace. This is an opportunity to share how the individual has contributed on a campus level. It also provides an opportunity to showcase how campus involvement has supported NIRSA goals as well as professional and student development.

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NIRSA!!  Below is a personal blog from Manny Voska, the Region IV Student Leader, about his experience with the Mentor Program.  Check it out!  And don't forget to apply for the Mentor Program :)

A few years ago I joined the NIRSA Mentor Program to get more involved with NIRSA and meet some individuals who had already established themselves in the area of Recreation, collegiate specifically.  My past couple of years has been a journey in the world of recreation.  From leaving my undergraduate to go to a University 1,800 miles away in the form of a Graduate Assistant, to coming into the role of a NIRSA Regional Leader in my second year of my Intramural Sports GA.   The Student Leadership Team approached me about sharing my experiences with the Mentor Program in the form of a blog.  First off, know that I have never written a blog before but understand it to be a free flowing recap of what you personally went through. 

My Mentor

I received and email one day while working at California State University Sacramento from a NIRSA Student Leader that promoted the new Mentoring Program.  As a student who was about to graduate in 7 months’ time and was going to be looking for a graduate assistantship , I figured that it couldn’t hurt to have someone who has gone through the process be there to give me some advice.  I filled out the form and returned it back to the student leader that had sent it out (little did I know that I would be working at the same university as her in the future).  A few weeks later I got matched up with a veteran NIRSA member out of Nebraska who has been in the profession for over 30 years, now keep in mind that I am living in Sacramento, CA. At first we exchanged conversational emails about who we were, how we got there, with some personal chatter thrown in there.  We decided to talk on the phone a few months before the Annual NIRSA Conference where I would be interviewing. It was enlightening to have someone there who can answer any questions you have, or to shoot you an icebreaking text before a big interview or meeting.  There was even a little resume help thrown in there but for some reason I was stubborn about mine haha I insisted on having a boarder around the edges… But anyways

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Hi NIRSA Family!!


Hope you all are having a great start to the semester!  The Student Leadership Team wanted to share upcoming dates and deadlines with you to keep you informed on various events happing within NIRSA. Please note in our video that we do mention a lot of dates.  All of the dates are listed in the comments section of the video.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact any one of us as we would be more than willing to help!



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Hello NIRSA Family!


The 2013-2014 NIRSA Assembly had our first call last week. The main focus for the call was to list and talk through potential topics for discussion and begin selecting interested parties for our work teams this year. Some of top choices are:  continue of conversations and work on inclusion in campus recreation (with a focus more on inclusion within programming), funding issues and campus partnerships. While the list is just getting started we hope to narrow our final ideas down and have our work team’s get started on some early discussions. This years Assembly members plan to have a strong presence at all state and/or regional conferences and events going on this year. We will be open to taking in any new suggestions for topics that we can tackle this year.

The NIRSA Assembly did great work last year with a few proposals send to the board including one on Mental Health- First Aid. The NIRSA Board is considering a Mental Health-First Aid certification as a pre- conference elective for the National Conference in 2014. We look forward to making progress on our topics this year and sending more recommendations to the NIRSA and the NIRSA Board.
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At my college we are looking at upgrading to a new check-in system in our fitness center. We have about 50-75 students come through a day, and we are looking for a system that is reliable. Any suggestions??



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Hello: I am interested in gathering some information on what other Campus Recreation departments are doing as far as the reservations process: What software is being used (pros & cons of what you are using)? What is the process patrons must go through from the initial request to the day of the event (forms, methods of record keeping by the person taking the reservations, communication confirmation/denial/cancellation of the event, etc? What are your rental rates for campus departments, off campus groups, and student groups? 

Any information would be greatly appreciated!! 
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