This is an excerpt from Dimensions of Leisure for Life by Human Kinetics.
The purpose of campus recreation is to provide a wide variety of recreational experiences and opportunities for students faculty and staff. According to Dr. Ray Wiley, the most popular activities offered by the campus recreation centers he directs are (1) intramurals; (2) fitness programs (weight room, fitness classes); (3) club sports; (4) outdoor trips, often referred to as outdoor pursuits; and (5) aquatics, similar to results at other universities. With all of these activities, one might think that all college students would use their campus recreation centers several times per week. However, research shows that not all students are aware of activity choices, and students participate at differing rates. One study found that males tend participate in campus recreation activities more than do females (Zizzi et al., 2004). Another study revealed that freshmen were less aware of recreational offerings on campus and that men and women had different understandings of their campus choices (Reed, 2007). These results suggest that students participate more in campus recreation activities as they learn about their options.
Campus recreation's primary goal is to serve students; thus, a great deal of the activities and programming revolves around student interests. Students, faculty, and staff participate in campus recreation activates to have fun, maintain healthy lifestyles, and socialize. Leisure activities assist with life stress, enhancing both mental and physical health (Iwasaki & Mannell, 2000). Now a major marketing and recruiting tool for many universities, campus recreation has become a vital component to universities and their students, faculty, and staff. In fact, the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) provides several awards to campus recreation programs and professionals for outstanding programs and innovations. Among the most prestigious are the Creative Excellence Award for innovation and creativity in marketing programs and the Outstanding Sports Facilities Award.
The benefits associated with participation in campus recreation activities are endless and range from stress management to social engagement. Areas that many campus recreation centers address are recreational sport, fitness and aquatics, outdoor opportunities, and student program opportunities.