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The Department of Recreational Services is an integral part of the Hawkeye tradition. The department promotes and coordinates campus-wide competitive and recreational activities. Events and programs enhance skills, foster life-long friendships, and teach the understanding of true sportsmanship while promoting healthy lifestyle choices. The department has a longstanding reputation for being a pioneer and leader in collegiate recreation and is well-respected locally, regionally, and within the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association. But it wasn’t until the construction of the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC) in 2010 that UI’s indoor recreational facilities moved from the bottom of the Big 10 to one of the best in the country. In 2013, Best College Reviews ranked the CRWC #3 nationally in a publication outlining the 25 most amazing campus student recreation centers.
The addition of the CRWC changed the complexion of the department. With more facility space to manage, priorities and processes changed. Central operations for the department shifted from the Field House (FH) to CRWC. It was quite apparent additional staff and funding were needed as well, so the department shifted to a slightly different business model to enhance resources. The new model moved fitness and group exercise classes away from a pay-to-participate model and were now included in the membership fee. Walk-in users, who prior to 2010 could use most of the building spaces without paying a fee, were now expected to pay to use the facilities. Membership Services staff were charged with the development and implementation of a Recruitment and Retention Plan for UI employees.
The complexion of the staff has changed as well over the last few years. There have been multiple retirements, including the retirement of a long-sitting director of 44 years. Additional retirements are expected in the next five years. These personnel changes provide exciting opportunities to add new professionals to the team who will continue to foster a diverse environment conducive to learning and growth. Part-time employment increased significantly to accommodate the increase in demand and participation in various programming areas.
Student expectations continue to grow despite the facility and staff increases. Students want more recreation space than what we currently have on campus and they expect programming/service options to continually evolve. They want these things produced using technology-rich delivery methods.