Campus Recreation in midst of record growth

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In the four short years that Andy Lemons has been its director, St. Edward’s University Campus Recreation has seen immense growth.

Lemons says he is no expert, but he knows that 18-24 year olds need and want an outlet, outside of partying. He also said their method of improving the program was simple.

“We put out a survey in Spring 2010 and asked: what do you guys want?” Lemons said.

The largest growth has been in club sports. Since Lemons’ arrival at St. Edward’s, the number of club sports has gone from three to 21. Previously, the only club sport teams were men’s lacrosse, men’s soccer and a cycling group, all of which were organizations in Student Life.

Lemons believes moving these clubs from Student Life to Campus Recreation has helped the program’s visibility and attributed to its rapid growth.

“Having an office dedicated to [club sports], students found us,” Lemons said.

Another area that has seen major change since Lemons’ arrival is intramural sports. Prior to 2009, intramurals were run by athletic coaches during their sport’s offseason. Clint Jones, Campus Recreation’s new assistant director, has been put in charge of not only running the intramural program but also building the intramural culture on campus.

Jones will be in charge of intramurals, informal recreation and outdoor adventure. Outdoor adventure is a club right now but will be integrated into an official Campus Recreation program in Spring 2014. This will allow Lemons to focus on Club Sports, fitness (GroupX and personal training) and aquatics.

This is the third year of formalized fitness classes at St. Edward’s. Campus Recreation has sold 261 GroupX passes so far this semester. However, there have been some complications with the program since the Alumni Gym is under construction. Class cancellations are common, as well as relocation of classes. Lemons said they have not had any complaints about it though, and is impressed by the students’ positivity and understanding.

Once the Alumni Gym is renovated, Campus Recreation will transfer its operations over to the facility. It will still be under the Athletics department but it will have a separate office space for Lemons and Jones and focus more on kinesiology and recreation.

The refurbished gym will also be air conditioned and feature a fitness studio, a room for private fitness assessment, and offices for club teams to hold meetings.

Over the last four years, the RCC staff has grown from five to 40 employees. Lemons says that they are focusing on leadership plans for their student employees as well as club team officers.

“We are going to start partnering with Career Services and the Health and Counseling Center to develop them professionally,” Lemons said.

This includes peer management, conflict resolution, customer service, risk management and wellness and physiological help. Lemons took the student employees on the first ever RCC staff retreat at the beginning of the fall semester. He also meets with the staff on a monthly basis to discuss schedules, policies and procedures and sometimes hold trainings.

Lemons believes in the value and necessity of Campus Recreation’s growth, and wants to show others that it is more than just “OMG, how cool!”

“I think we can impact a lot of people without overtly being obvious about what department we are or what our goals are,” Lemons said.