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 September 2005 • NIRSA news and information
Front Page Membership Education Conference & Expo Sports Foundation Leadership Notes

Journal research reveals fitness/wellness at top of programming trends

An article in the 2005 Spring/Summer Recreational Sports Journal reveals the trends for future activities on campus. In "A Survey of Campus Recreation Directors at NIRSA Institutions: Activities Emphasized, Student Participation Patterns, Trends and Future Offerings Contemplated," by William F. Stier, Jr., Robert C. Schneider and Steve Kampf and Scott Haines (The State University of New York-Brockport), and Gregory E. Wilding (State University of New York [Buffalo]), survey results show the following:

  1. No. 1 activity ranking: In terms of future activities being contemplated by various departments of campus recreation, more schools are contemplating the addition of fitness/wellness types of activities or programs for their students than any other type of activity.
  2. No. 2 activity ranking: Outdoor recreational programs and intramural activities tied as the next highest category of offerings being considered as additions to the campus recreation programming.
  3. Instructional activities being considered for addition: The three most frequently mentioned types of classes are swimming, lifeguard certification and scuba diving.


A survey, using an instrument constructed expressly for this investigation, was conducted of directors of campus recreation at all 682 NIRSA colleges and universities in the United States and Canada to determine the current status of:

  • The degree of emphasis institutions currently place on nine categories of sports and recreational activities,
  • The percentage of students, undergraduate and graduate, actually participating in each of these nine categories of activities,
  • Future recreational activities and programs, not currently offered to students, but being considered for inclusion within the next twelve months, and
  • Future trends in terms of problems (challenges and opportunities) facing college campus recreation departments.

Two hundred and sixty-nine schools returned usable surveys for a thirty-nine percent rate of return. This investigation provides a snapshot view of specific current practices and programming offerings of campus recreation directors as well as their opinions in terms of future programming plans and anticipated trends affecting their campus recreation departments. The data were analyzed in light of the locations of the responding institutions within the six regions of NIRSA, the size of the institutions and the classification of the schools as public or private. The nine categories of recreational activities included:

  1. Aquatics
  2. Club Sports
  3. Group Exercise/Aerobics
  4. Instructional Programming
  5. Intramurals
  6. Open Recreation
  7. Outdoor Recreation
  8. Special Events
  9. Youth And Family Activities
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