More than just something to do

Kristina Wyman's picture
Jordan Aubin

People are always telling you to get involved, but it doesn’t always have to be something stressful or something to add to your résumé. Sometimes, it can be fun.

Intramural sports have always been integral to the student experience at Assumption. Whether it’s flag football or one of the more unique sports like Battleship, intramurals allow students to take their minds off academics for a bit and get some exercise while forming long-lasting friendships.

But like any other program, the challenge always lies in raising student awareness. If students don’t know about the sports or when signups are, they can’t capitalize on one of the many great opportunities Assumption has to offer.

“Students need to know when signups are,” said Mike Rodier, the director of campus recreation. “The tricky part is knowing how the students like to receive that information.”

Nowadays, he has figured out that social media and emails are the way to go. Social media outlets like Twitter help spread the word, and once a student has signed up for one intramural through IM Leagues, they will get emails for the rest of the year about signup deadlines for every sport and event. While it’s great to have students come back, what Rodier is really looking for is what he calls “unique participants.”

The unique participant number refers to how many students have been involved in at least one intramural throughout the year. Last spring, there were 248 unique male participants and 99 females. This spring, the number is 296 and 162 for males and females, respectively. The numbers certainly seem to be trending in the right direction.

Some students sign up for the traditional sports, while others like the special events. One such event was the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Rec Day on February 22 that included a relay race at Plourde.

“We had quite a few students who hadn’t competed in intramurals yet this year compete in that,” Rodier said. “That’s what we’re looking for. The goal is to get every student involved in something.”

Alongside the Rec Day relay, other special events were planned throughout the year to attract students. At the beginning of the year, a golf scramble was run through Green Hill Golf Course and there was also a “Light the Night” glow-in-the-dark flag football game. And recently, on Saturday, April 16, there was a spring celebration that had a beach volleyball tournament, a 3v3 basketball tournament and KanJam along with free ice cream and wings.

These events are always a big hit, and new ideas that can bring in students are really what make intramurals appealing and more importantly, fun.

“The program is for the students, so I need to know what the students are feeling in order to improve the program and make sure the students are happy,” said Rodier.

Student feedback is a huge part of intramurals, so Rodier has used that to springboard some potential ideas for next year. He has used surveys at the end of the season as well as conversations and emails from students to get a feel for what can be added or improved.

For one, he wants to make the Rec Day a decathlon instead of a relay race, so that the event can run longer. He also would like to utilize the pool space more since it goes largely unused for a majority of the year until Battleship rolls around in the spring.

Finally, he noted that students love the special events, so next year he wants to have two special events per semester instead of just one. He also mentioned tweaking the surveys to include the question, “What are intramurals missing?” so students can voice their ideas.

All of this attention to student feedback is because intramurals are more than just something to do for students.

“Students need an outlet,” Rodier said. “They’re obviously here for an education, but they need some kind of stress reliever.”

“[The students] make friends and form relationships,” he went on to say. “They learn an awful lot through playing intramurals. You learn teamwork and competition—it’s stuff that can’t really be taught in the classroom.”

Adam Cabral, a senior, has participated in intramurals extensively since his first year and spoke to the impact intramurals have had on him.

“Intramurals have been a huge part of my time here at school,” he said. “It has allowed me to get to know and connect with numerous people, including younger students as well as graduates and faculty.”

Senior Tyler Greenberg enjoys the ability to connect with people as well.

“Throughout the years, intramurals have allowed me to meet new people and enjoy the sensation of playing sports I played in high school,” he said.

This is precisely the value of having such a student-oriented intramural program at Assumption. Students get a temporary escape from the everyday stresses of being a college student. They get to have fun. Moreover, they get to compete against their friends or make new ones, fostering the sense of community that makes Assumption so special.

“One of the reasons students like Assumption, stay at Assumption, choose Assumption is the support of the community,” Rodier said.

When Rodier started his job as director of campus recreation in August, he recalled that the support of the community was exactly what he got.

Perhaps Cabral summed up the importance of intramurals best.

“Having something to take my mind off things is great in itself,” he said. “But it’s even better to make friends and memories you’ll never forget. That’s what really matters.”

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