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Campus Recreation Pro Staff Attend National Conference

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Several thousand recreation professionals, including students and graduate assistants from all 50 states, ascended to Pittsburgh, Pa. for the 73rd annual NIRSA (National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association) Conference.

Auburn University Campus Recreation sent five professionals to take part in this year's conference, and Nicholas Head, Assistant Director of Membership gives us a rundown.

The two main highlights of the conference for me were the Mainstage Speaker Series and the variety of recreational and educational sessions. Smiley Poswolsky kicked off the speaker series with an engaging and invigorating keynote on the power of connection, informing attendees that “everyone has a role to play.” Smiley highlighted how now, more than ever, we have so many generations working together in our job field, and how each generation is able to learn from one another to help promote his one big word: Belonging.

That keynote was followed the next day by an emotional, inspiring, and uplifting story from Jeffrey Binney, who lost his mother to obesity-related heart disease at a young age. Jeffrey decided in a hospital waiting room that he was determined to avoid the same fate, and chose to compete and complete a 100-mile ultramarathon. The theme of Jeffrey’s keynote was that while we only get one life, if we do it right, once is enough.

The sessions during NIRSA provided much variety and many opportunities to learn from other collegiate recreation professionals. My favorite session discussed how to better incorporate inclusivity into your student hiring and interview process. From website accessibility to student-centric mission statements, and appropriate DEI questions, I gained a greater understanding of new and different ways to ensure all students feel included and believe that working with Campus Recreation and Wellness is for them!

Networking and meeting counterparts from across the country is always a blast, but this year, it was more special, because we caught up with several Auburn University and Campus Recreation and Wellness alumni who are currently thriving in their roles at their respective institutions. Two former Campus Rec student employees are now coordinators at Florida State University and Weber State in Utah. It was inspiring to see former students using what they learned at Auburn Campus Recreation and now using it as professionals elsewhere.

Auburn brought home five awards this year (three first-place awards, one second-place award, and one third-place award) in the NIRSA t-shirt design contest.


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