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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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I recently responded to a Habitat note seeking advice about developing a Strategic Plan.  I was excited to see that institutions and departments still see the value of this essential tool.  I was a bit worried as I recently had a discussion with a faculty colleague who suggested that because Strategic Plans took too much time,  did not allow for sufficient faculty input and too often sat on the shelves without being implemented, the plans were more harmful than helpful.  Balderdash I cried at this blasphemy.   

If you've been one of my students over the years you've heard me use the phrase  "proper planning prevents (expletive) poor performance or P6"  many times. Of course the complete expression is a bit more colorful but not appropriate for a family friendly blog. The expression comes from my Navy days and, as is the case for most military expressions, its origin is unknown. I learned a great deal from my 20+ years in the Navy but one of the most relevant to this discussion is that you can't destroy a target unless you plan the strike, assess the damage, and hit it again. Dwight Eisenhower once said that "plans are useless but planning is essential."   Planning allows for us to dissect or deconstruct who we are and what we do, identify our capability and capacity, clarify our purpose or target, and refocus our efforts to achieve a desired outcome.  What could be more fun!!!
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With many of us are wrapping up the academic year, the Assembly joined for our May conference call to cover a variety updates. As we discussed the orientation process for new Assembly members, the feedback was similar across the board. With the first connection from a sitting Assembly member to a new member being very valuable, we hope to work towards reminding new members the goals and purpose of the Assembly and that much of our work is done in small groups off the calls. We can also include the opportunities for folks to become chair or co-chairs of our working small teams.

We moved on to give work team reports which included an update on Mental Health and Inclusion of Participants. Both work teams are in early stages of gaining useful information from various departments and entities in the higher education realm and will continue doing so in the weeks to come. Our Mental Health team is working to find out what campuses are doing to address Mental Health issues and if and what trainings and resources are available on campuses. The Inclusion of Participants group is looking to find information on policies regarding inclusion of participants within Campus Recreation, specifically focusing on LGBTQ Community. As always, any comments or feedback from colleagues in the NIRSA is welcomed.

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NIRSA Students!

Are you interested in learning more about your 2013-14 Student Leadership Team, the SLT Twitter, the Assembly, the Engagement Coordinator position, or presentation proposals for the annual conference?  Check out our first video newsletter to find out more information! 

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Happy Tuesday Region IV & Friends,

The conference has come and gone and boy was it a blast!

Now that I’ve recovered from the Region IV & Friends Student Lead On Conference with a full night’s sleep I want to give you all a little run-down of the conference.

So here goes nothing:

We kicked off the conference with a wonderful dinner and keynote speaker, Jerry Stovall. He inspired all of us to continue to improve as leaders in collegiate recreation and our everyday lives. After the opening session we all met at Walk-On's to relax and unwind from a day filled with traveling and pre-conference activities. The meat and potatoes of the conference began on Friday morning with some invigorating educational sessions. I learned from “The Good Doctor,” Dr. Wendy Windsor, about networking strategies and interviewing techniques and from

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