In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Student Recreation Center has been offering new activities to promote safe recreational and intramural activities.
Traditionally, the Rec Center has offered team sports and activities in which students can participate. This semester, that mission might look different for participants.
Eric Vaughn, director of intramural and recreational sports, said while planning he has been focusing on finding ways to incorporate major sports like basketball or soccer in a smaller setting so people still have a way to exercise. Recreation Center staff have been proposing ideas for different programs than previous years, such as online sports or challenges instead of games. This has meant that more communication and marketing is necessary for the newly introduced sports, along with more collaboration with other offices for ideas to engage the student population.
Vaughn said participation is down this year, partly due to students’ confusion about what sports are currently offered at the Recreation Center and the way they will be conducted. Janna Stoskopf, vice president for student affairs, said attendance could also be down because of nicer weather, meaning more students can do outside activities, or Recreation Center occupancy limits and students’ reluctance to congregate in the Recreation Center.
Vaughn said this year there are 158 teams signed up for intramurals and 201 unique participants, which are people who were only counted once but were on multiple teams. Last fall there were 284 teams and 842 unique participants. However, Vaughn said this year’s tennis league and virtual running league have been successful. The virtual running league has about 45 participants and there were 700 running submissions in the spring.
Senior Kylie Ostermeyer, intramural program assistant and intramural official at the Rec Center, said the intramural office has added online sports and video games, like Call of Duty and Fantasy Football, this year. Stoskopf said she thinks esports have the potential to bring in a lot of students who otherwise might not be involved in campus recreation.
Ostermeyer said the Recreation Center will still have around the same amount of sports, just different types than in past years. For example, instead of high-risk intramurals like football and soccer, there will be pickleball, badminton and tennis. There will also be more specialized events and more variety of activities. Exercise at the Recreation Center this year has been more individualized, with many people doing their own workouts rather than coming together to play a group sport.
Ostermeyer said she has had no issues enforcing the guidelines. If a person’s mask is not covering their entire mouth and nose, they are usually willing to put it on correctly. Ostermeyer said she thinks people are compliant in following the guidelines because they want to stay on campus.