This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Student Rec Center on campus, and there is a lot to celebrate.
“We have dramatically expanded the programs in the past ten years,” said Rob Thompson, Director of the Student Rec Center and Assistant Athletic Director. “What intramurals was ten years ago is very different than what it is today, plus club sports, aquatics, the ORC being added down the line.”
“The other really big thing is that we didn’t used to host a lot of special events,” Thompson, who has worked at the SRC for fourteen years, stated.
“We have convocation, commencement, foundation events, athletic events, the career fair. There’s a lot happening in this building. Sometimes people ask for space, and I have to tell them we can’t accommodate,” Margie Rodgers, assistant director of the SRC, added. “People sometimes see just one part, maybe they only come for commencement, and we do so much more than that.”
Club sports and outdoor recreation have also worked to provide more opportunities for P.A. credit, resulting in more diverse options for students.
Another aspect of recreational sports, and one that is trickier to measure, is the commitment to building an inclusive community.
“On every level, from the minute people walk in the door, until they leave, I want people to feel like this is a place people can come and not be concerned about who they are and what they’re here for,” Rodgers explained. “I try to take it on myself to really promote that idea of a welcoming environment, not just in terms of smiling faces at the front desk, but I even drill that into our cleaning staff. You wanna go to a place where everything looks clean.”
As Rodgers later explained, rec centers have an important place on college campuses keeping students physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. This is especially true at a school with as much academic rigor as Mines.
“It’s a place people can come and get the stress out, in whatever way works for them,” said Rodgers, “whether that’s swimming laps, climbing at the wall, lifting weights, or playing with their friends at an intramural game.”
Rodgers favorite part of the SRC? “I really love that it’s kind of a campus hub. It is one of the most visited buildings on campus,” she stated. “I love that we try to offer something for everyone. There’s always room for improvement with that stuff for sure, but I think that the staff here really takes it on themselves to make those opportunities for folks.”
This sentiment was echoed later, when Rodgers mentioned, “We’re really receptive to constructive feedback, keeping in mind we operate on a budget and we can’t just build a new rec center tomorrow. I am dedicated to bettering it, bettering the environment, bettering the programs.”
“We started swim lessons because of feedback, and SUP yoga for the same reason. That’s how we got the squat racks. This is something we take seriously. Somebody requested pickleball, and we’re looking in buying those because it’s not expensive, so why not?”
Thompson added, “There’s something for everybody. Most people’s careers start and end here, when you talk about convocation and some of the graduations being here. With the ability to travel to the world with the ORC, to play club sports or IMs, or take a yoga class, we pride ourselves with having something that would appeal to everyone on campus and I think we work pretty hard to get that done.”
Why do you love recreational sports?
I really like the people I work with. Everyone here enjoys being active, which brings people together. Everyone likes IM Sports or working out or running. It’s nice to work with people who enjoy what you enjoy.
I really like club rugby because it’s a family that we make and all the girls are really close to each other – we’re like sisters – and we help each other with homework, and we hang out on our offtime with each other. We’re all just a closely knit family.
I love working here because it’s a very tight knit community and a lot of the people I work with have become my best friends.
I think the rec center is amazing because there’s a sense of community that can only be found in this building. Everyone comes here with one thing in mind, and it’s to stop thinking about this school. We’re all able to bond over that – it provides a cool sense of commradery while we’re all doing our activities.
-Yahalomin James Davis
I like to see my passion [climbing] in others. I like to see people at different stages, where they just started or are really well versed and practicing and being able to follow in their footsteps.
-Hee Young Yi