Recreational Services - Summer Orientation | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa

Recreational Services at the University of Iowa is thrilled to welcome the Fall 2020 incoming freshman and transfer students.  Although we would rather connect with you in person to tell you all about our programs and services, a virtual format is the next best thing.  Here you will find a brief overview of our department as well as frequently asked questions and answers.  

Learn more about Recreational Services!

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What pool space can I use for lap swim or open swim? 

Answer: Recreational Services has two lap swim pools, the Natatorium in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center and the pool in the Field House.  The Rec Pool is also available for lap swimming and recreational swimming.  

Question: When is the pool open for open swim? 

Answer:  The pool hours vary depending on the day.  We recommend checking our website for the most up to date schedule or use the app!  

Question: Are swim lessons available? 

Answer: Swim lessons are available for children as young as 6 months to adults. Lessons are offered in a group setting or a private one-on-one setting. Classes are provided by certified instructors in our Rec Pool.  We typically offer two sessions a semester. More information can be found on our Swim Lesson Page.  

Question: Do students have to pay a fee to use the Recreational Services facilities?  

Answer: Generally speaking, the fee to use the Recreational Services facilities is included in a student’s tuition.  There are a few situations where the university chooses not to charge the recreation fee to the student’s tuition.  In those situations, the student can purchase the membership by visiting one of the facilities. 

Question:  When will my recreation membership become active for me to use the facilities?   

Answer: Your recreation membership will be active the first day of the semester.   

Question: What do I need to access the facility? 

Answer:  To access our buildings, you simply need your student ID card or the Recreational Services App which can hold a virtual ID.  Staff will scan your card which will grant you access to the facility.   

Question: Which buildings can I use with my membership? 

Answer: Your membership will grant you access to all four Recreational Services Buildings.  Hours vary for each facility.  Learn more about each building and the different offerings here: 

Question: I am intimidated by the facilities.  Is there anyway I can get a tour to help familiarize me with all the different offerings?

Answer: Of course!  You can simply stop by our Member Service Desk at each facility and ask for a tour.  Or if you would prefer to schedule a tour, complete our tour request form and we will coordinate a tour that works best in your schedule. 

Question: Do you have equipment to check out (basketballs, volleyballs, etc.)

Answer: Yes.  Each facility has equipment available to check out based on the options available at that facility.  Simply bring your student ID to our Member Service/Equipment Desk and the student staff can help you.  

Question: Can I reserve space at one of the facilities?

Answer: Activity rooms, court space, turf are only reserved for Registered Student Organizations. However, you can call ahead or visit our app to see if the space is available for use.

Question:  I love to workout and want to work as a personal trainer.  How do I apply? 

Answer:  You must currently hold a personal training certification in order to be considered for this position.  If you are a currently certified personal trainer, please find information on how to apply on our website at our employment webpage.  

Question:  How do I get a personal trainer?   

Answer:  In order to get a personal trainer you need to first complete our registration form.  This form will connect you with a trainer that meets your needs.  Once we receive the form, we will take care of the rest!  

Question:  Where is personal training offered? 

Answer:  Personal Trainers will meet you in the recreation building of your choice.  Recreational Services has four facilities and we can meet you in any of them to provide sessions.   

Question:  How much is it to work with a personal trainer? 

Answer:  Students receive the lowest price for personal training sessions.  Our packages are priced based on the number of sessions an individual purchases. More details regarding the pricing, philosophy, trainers, and more can be found on our Personal Training webpage.  

Question: Is group fitness free? 

Answer: Yes, Group Fitness classes are included in your recreation membership. Small Group Training Programs (Fitness Barre, Women & Weightlifting, Introduction to Olympic Lifting etc.) are an additional fee. More information about our different fitness programs can be found on our Fitness webpage.

Question: Are yoga mats provided or do I need to bring my own? 

Answer: Yoga mats are provided, however we encourage you to bring your own. 

Question: I’ve never participated in a yoga class, which class would be best for me? 

Answer: Gentle Yoga, Yoga & Reflection, Slow Flow Yoga. Download the Rec Services app for a complete listing of fitness classes, description and location. 

Question: How many group fitness classes are offered weekly?  

Answer: Recreational Services offers 80+ classes weekly from WERQ, Zumba, yoga, Les Mills, HIIT and other strength/cardio workouts.  Group fitness classes are held at the CRWC or the Fieldhouse at various times throughout the day. At this time registration is not required, classes are on a first come, first served basis though class size is limited.  Learn more about our Group Fitness Schedule online or through our app!

Question: What does the University of Iowa offer for outdoor pursuits?

Answer: UI has one of the strongest campus outdoor recreation and education programs in the nation.  We have some of the traditional outdoor pursuits (Climbing Wall, Challenge Course, Outdoor Rental Center, Adventure Trips, and a variety of Lifetime Leisure Skills courses that focus on outdoor skills). But we also have unique outdoor education programs (Iowa Raptor Project, Wildlife Camps, School of the Wild) and a nearly 500-acre wildlife area just 20 minutes from campus at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area.  

Question: What is the Macbride Nature Recreation Area?

Answer: MNRA or “Macbride” as we call it, is a nearly 500-acre natural area that is surrounded by Lake Macbride State Park (Iowa’s largest state park) and Coralville Lake.  The area has many great trails and Iowa’s largest display of indigenous birds of prey at the Iowa Raptor Project…hey, we are the Hawks!  MNRA is also home to Wildlife Camps, as well as School of the Wild and there are many ways for you to get hands-on wildlife and educational experiences through volunteer, internship, and work opportunities.  

Question: Is there outdoor equipment that I can rent to use near by? 

Answer: Yes!  We have an Outdoor Rental Center that has a variety of equipment available for rent including winter gear and summer gear.  Day, Weekend, and Week-long rentals are available on all kinds of outdoor adventure equipment.   Make sure you check our hours before you visit!  

Question: The climbing wall looks amazing!  How do I get to use it? 

Answer:  The climbing wall is amazing!  Standing 52 ½ feet tall we are very excited this is available for you to use! There are a few options for using the climbing wall:  

  • Try Climb: A try climb is a one time up and down the wall experience.  The cost is $5 and the staff will provide all the instruction and gear needed to successfully scale the wall.  
  • Top Rope Lesson: A climbing lesson will teach you the basics to become oriented with the wall and the safety procedures for climbing safely. Topics include climbing knots, harnesses, belay skills, and climbing commands. Upon completion of the lesson, you will complete a safety check which will then provide you an approval card granting you access to use the wall whenever it is open.   
  • Bouldering wall: Bouldering is rock climbing without the ropes and gear. Participants stay lower to the ground, often traversing the wall searching for the hardest movements. A short orientation is required to use the bouldering wall, free of charge.

There are additional classes and offerings available throughout the year for students to learn more about the wall.  Those offerings can be found on our social media sites or our climbing wall webpage.  

Question: I’m interested in the outdoors, but don’t have a lot of experience. Are there ways for me to build my skills and confidence in outdoor recreation activities?  

Answer: Yes! The Lifetime Leisure Skills department offers classes in activities like camping, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, recreational cycling, mountain biking, trail running, canoeing, sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, winter camping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and more! They are beginner friendly, yet still offer plenty of challenges for all experience levels. LLS classes are a great way to learn new skills, earn academic credit, meet new people, and explore new locations. Courses range in duration from one weekend to a full semester. A list of classes can be found on MyUI by searching for the course subject “LLS”. All classes award at least 1 s.h. of academic credit upon successful completion.

Question: I’ve always wanted to go on a ropes course, is the UI Challenge Course open for drop-in use?

Answer: No. The UI Challenge Course is available by reservation only. We primarily work with groups such as student organizations, clubs, Greek life, athletic teams, and academic departments. Our focus is to help them improve their team’s capabilities through activities that are mentally and physically challenging. If you aren’t involved in a campus group, you can still experience the UI Challenge Course by enrolling in the academic class, Team Building (LLS:1140). Just visit MyUI and search for the course subject “LLS”.

Question: What is the Iowa Raptor Project?

Answer: The Iowa Raptor Project (IRP) connects students and the community to the conservation of birds of prey and their natural habitats through research and education opportunities. Housed at the scenic Macbride Nature Recreation Area (MNRA), we are open to the public 365 days a year for visitation and there is no admission fees! We host various events throughout the year that connect students with our raptor collection while providing a deeper understanding of the natural world. Join us as a visitor or volunteer and learn more about the wonderful raptors of Iowa! 

Question: Are Wildlife Camps only for young people or can college students be involved?  

Answer: College students can volunteer, fulfill practicums and internships as well as become employed at Camps during our winter, spring break and summer offerings.

Question: Is the Hawkeye Community Rowing program just for the community? 

Answer: No!  We have a program for all ages.  Individuals who are interested can contact Amy Smith for more information.  

Question: Is there an opportunity to try rowing without committing? 

Answer: Yes!  Learn to Row is our introductory program that introduces you to the sport of rowing without having to fully commit.  

Question: Do you row year-round or only during the summer months? 

Answer:  We do row year-round.  We are fortunate to have the P. Sue Beckwith M.D., Boathouse as well as space in the Field House to row during the colder months.  During the warmer months, we will take the boats out on the water.  

Question: Do I have to attend a Learn to Row to participating in rowing? 

Answer: If you have no experience in the sport of rowing, or have only briefly rowed in the past, then attending a Learn to Row is the right step and is necessary for you.  A Learn to Row exposes you to the sport in a relaxed environment so that you can learn and find out if this is something you would like to continue to pursue.  If you have rowed briefly in the past, then this is a good way to accustom yourself once again to the rowing lingo and commands and get back in the swing of the rowing stroke. Canoeing, Row Boats, and Kayaks do not qualify as experience in the sport of rowing.  

 Question: What is the practice schedule? 

Answer: Our schedule varies depending on the time of year, and is fluid based on programming events and regattas that we are attending.  This is typically what we stay pretty close to for a schedule: 

  • Adult Program (UI Students/Faculty/Staff/Community) 
    • Monday – Friday, 5:30 a.m. – 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. 
    • Tuesday and Thursday – 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (water seasons only) 
    • Weekends as scheduled 

Question: What’s the difference between Intramural Sports and Sport Clubs? 

Answer: Sport Clubs are for students who want to practice, play, and/or compete against other colleges/university teams for a full semester or academic year. Intramural Sports offer short-term competition among University of Iowa students, faculty, and staff. 

Sport Clubs

Question: How can I get more information about a club’s operation? 

Answer: For more information on how to join a club, when they practice, how much they travel, what the costs are, etc., please contact the club officers directly. Contact information can be found by visiting, clicking the “Active Clubs” dropdown, and click on the club name. If you have reached out to the club multiple times and have not received a response, please email

Question: How do I start a new Sport Club? 

Answer: If the sport in which you are interested is not offered, you can start a Sport Club! For more information on the steps in this process, email

Intramural Sports

Question: Who can participate in Intramural Sports? 

Answer: Current students (enrolled in classes for the current semester), faculty, staff, and affiliates of the University of Iowa that are Recreational Services members and have purchased an Intramural Sports Membership for that semester are eligible for participation in the Intramural Sports Program. An Intramural Sports Membership can be purchased at any time. We offer leagues and events for the athlete who wants some competition and also leagues and events for those who just want to play for fun, to get some exercise, or just to spend some fun time with friends. If you’re used to playing traditional team sports, or want to give one a try, register a team for an Intramural Sports league. We set up Men's/Open, Women's, Co-Rec (Male and Females), Open (No Gender Restrictions), Advanced, and Friendly leagues, depending on the sport. 

Question: How do I sign-up? 


  • Forming a Team: The easiest, and most common, way to get involved in team sports is to form a team of your own. It could be you and some friends, maybe the people of your residence hall or the neighbors in your apartment complex, as long as they are all students, faculty, staff, or affiliates of the University of Iowa and have purchased an Intramural Sports Membership. Student organizations such as fraternities and sororities, as well as other campus groups, often put together teams. To find out how many players you will need for a complete team, check out each sport’s rules prior to registration. 
  • Registering a Team: Almost all of our registration is done using this website, Information on how to create a team using can be found by checking out our IMLeagues Registration Instructions on each sport’s home page. Registration is quick and easy. The key is to know registration deadlines, and get your teams put together and ready-to-go before the deadlines. Then when all your teammates have been added to the team roster, you can simply select a spot in the league or division, and you will be ready to go. 

Question: What if I don’t have a team on which to play? 

Answer: If you do not have enough people to form your own team, you are considered a "Free Agent" for that sport. To try and get connected with other participants looking to form a team, you can join our Iowa Intramural Sports Free Agent Group on Facebook. The Intramural Sports staff will also work to try and get Free Agents on the Facebook page connected with each other to form a team. 

Question: How much does it cost? 

Answer: The cost is $25.00 for the semester. Or, if you are just filling-in for a team and you are only going to play once, you can purchase a Single Game Pass and play one time. There are also a few select events, like our Friday Night Series events, that do not require a membership! 

Question: Where are the tennis courts located? 

Answer: The Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex (HTRC), 2820 Prairie Meadow Drive, West of campus near the Hawkeye Recreation Fields and Hawkeye Storage Parking Lot. It is on the Cambus line. 

Question: How can I reserve a court? 

Answer: Students may call the HTRC at 384-1215 to reserve a court. There are 12 outdoor and 8 indoor courts. For fee info go to

Question: What tennis programming is available for UI Students? 

Answer: Intramural tennis, UI Club Tennis, Adult Tennis Lessons, Cardio Tennis, Leagues and more! 

Connect with Recreational Services!

Want to stay up to date with all our offerings?  Make sure you follow our social media accounts and download our Recreational Services App!