Campus Rec Provides Mentors, Professional Development

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Colorado State University has a hashtag associated with its campus recreation center — #BPOC, an acronym for "best place on campus." When speaking with our student staff, it is obvious they believe this is true and are proud to be employees at the best place on campus.

Emily Crowder is a health and exercise science major at Colorado State University.Emily Crowder is a health and exercise science major at Colorado State University.

While majoring in health and exercise science with a concentration in health promotion and a minor in business administration, I have been an employee of the Colorado State Campus Recreation Center since August 2018. I was hired as a personal trainer before being promoted to personal training manager in spring 2020. Additionally, I became a student representative for the Student Staff Development Committee and was hired as the student development assistant in May 2019. Since joining the campus recreation team, I have truly learned and taken personally our core values of integrity, development, community and inclusion.

Three phrases I'd use to describe the professional staff who make up the team at the Colorado State Rec are people-oriented, kind-hearted and fun-loving. It's because of the talented individuals who make up our team that we have created such an inviting, warm environment for student staff and patrons to feel welcome using the professional staff as a resource. I truly believe that a strong team is only possible through a strong leader. We currently have multiple strong leaders, stewarding various strong departments, which ultimately creates one powerful, cohesive campus recreation team.

I am proud to say that I work for the best place on campus, and that is due to the professional staff, as well as the student staff members who are a part of our Campus Rec family. During my time as a student staff member, I've learned a multitude of interpersonal, leadership and developmental skills — all due to the dedication of our professional staff.

During an interaction with a professional staff member, I learned a valuable lesson about attitude and career perspective. He would always frame coming to work as something he gets to do, rather than something he has to do. I'll take this lesson with me for the rest of my life. It's a goal I have for myself in the career I believe I will find in campus recreation.


As a part of the Rec, I have been involved in mentorship programs and development courses, and have had the opportunity to attend conferences and foster personal relationships. One of my favorite aspects of working in campus recreation is the ample opportunities offered to students to develop themselves both personally and professionally.

Our Student Staff Development Committee created what we call the Rec Development Program, which offers courses that teach our student staff skills they can apply to their employment areas here at the Rec, as well as take with them to their future careers. One class in particular, Careers in Rec, offered me the chance to hear different testimonials of current professional staff members on their journey through falling in love with campus rec, which played a role in fueling my interest and passion toward pursuing a career in the field.

This year I took on the position of student development assistant and hold the responsibility of overseeing the Rec Development Program. This position not only granted me a greater sense of responsibility and independence, but a chance to work directly with professional staff and interact with all 300 student staff members at the Rec.

As a trainer, I have witnessed first-hand the impacts that campus recreation has had on our student body due to my personal relationships with clients. I am honored to play a role in campus recreation and the impact it has on the patrons who use our facility, by providing a safe environment and helping my clients reach their fitness goals. When considering what my future looks like after graduating, I know that my long-term dream is to own a physical therapy and personal training hybrid business. How exactly I will get there remains a mystery, but I can confidently say that pursuing campus rec after college would provide me with the skills and knowledge I'll need to achieve this goal.

If, one day, I am hired in a full-time capacity and can be a role model to student staff as the professional staff at CSU have been to me, then I will count myself lucky to have had the opportunity to serve campus recreation.

As a leader of the upcoming generation of campus recreation, I believe it is my responsibility to take initiative in preparing the current student staff, as well as paving the way for future student staff to be successful in working in campus recreation. Campus recreation is a safe place for young adults to explore new endeavors, grow as employees and not be afraid to fail. This organization has already made leaps and bounds in improving its ways to provide for students, but there is more progress to be made.

Fitness is an everchanging field, and campus recreation is changing with it. There is so much potential in campus recreation and I am proud to say that, together, we can make all campus recreation centers the best places on campus!

This article originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Pride in working at the best place on campus." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.


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