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January 8, 2019

From Frisbee to Flag Football: In Campus Recreation, the Play’s the Thing

Intramurals and sport clubs, as everyone knows, are a great place to make new friends. They’re even a place where you can find a spouse.

That was the blissful outcome for alumni Michael Buttgereit ’16 and Sarah Lewandowski ’15, who met in the Ultimate Frisbee Club. The newlyweds married last spring, with former teammates in attendance.

It’s these kinds of bonds that Campus Recreation creates—while also promoting health and fitness.

Roughly 400 students participate in intramural sports each year, with basketball, flag football, soccer and volleyball being the most popular offerings. All leagues are student staffed, and students can create their own teams or sign up as free agents to be chosen by existing teams.

“I just know that when I play, I have fun,” says junior Davina Saltos, who plays volleyball and is a student official for the games. “Everyone is very encouraging, and it’s a very comfortable environment to be in.”

Most leagues play two games each week for a four- to five-week season, giving students plenty of opportunities to socialize and exercise.

“It definitely gives first-year students a chance to meet other people in a safe and fun setting,” says Michael Grant, M.B.A. ’16, assistant director of Campus Recreation. “First-year students often form teams and end up staying friends, staying involved and creating more teams throughout the years.”

Grant recalled one student who thanked the staff at the end of the volleyball season. The student told them that he’d been picked on in high school and had always wanted to play volleyball but never got the chance.

“He was really excited and kind of emotional about it,” Grant says. “He just wanted to play, and we were able to provide that outlet for him. That’s why we’re here.”

Campus Recreation also offers more than intramural sports. Sport clubs, for instance, compete on and off campus, and often meet for six to eight hours each week. These include groups such as the AU Sapna Bollywood fusion dance team, the AU Bhangra dance team, the Equestrian Club, the Fencing Club, the men’s and women’s soccer clubs, and the Baseball Club.

“They’re more of a time commitment than intramural sports because they last throughout the school year and they practice and travel together,” Grant says. “They’re also student led so students get to decide what activities they want to do each year and how to budget their money to best enhance their experience.”

Adelphi also offers group fitness classes, such as Zumba, Pilates, kickboxing and yoga, which are attended by more than 600 people each year. The University also offers personal training, which started just a year ago.

“We have a waiting list for that every semester because it’s so popular,” says Linda Gundrum, director of Campus Recreation. “It’s a collaboration between recreation and the exercise science program, where the exercise science students are the trainers and you can get six free weeks of personal training.”

They’re even piloting a new group training program, which will offer fitness classes for a small, set group of students, led by a dedicated trainer. It will be hosted in the new functional training studio, which had its grand opening last year. The studio differs from the traditional fitness centers, offering strength and core-training equipment like TRX suspension trainers and monkey bars rather than weight machines.

Going forward, Gundrum and Grant hope to diversify participation by encouraging more female-identifying students and international students to join campus recreation programs.

“We’ve been working with the Office of International Student Services to survey these students, figure out what they like to do, and see if there are ways we can bring them in,” Gundrum said.

Above all, they want to make sure that all students feel comfortable enough to try new activities that can help them engage with their community and build healthier lifestyles.

“The more fitness programs we can offer to meet a variety of needs, fitness levels and interests, the better,” Gundrum said. “All of this is about trying to figure out what the students are really interested in and then offering that as best as we can.”


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Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

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