Temple Times Online Edition
    MARCH 30, 2006
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Students help keep Recreation Services running smoothly

During a recent First Aid/CPR training session, Recreation Services’ student workers put their life-saving skills to the test. In order to ensure safety at all recreation facilities, staff members must be certified in First Aid/CPR and have a complete knowledge of all workout equipment.

The University’s recreation facilities are pretty busy these days — giving their staff quite the workout.

More than 2,800 students, faculty and staff participate daily in one or more activities offered by Recreation Services and, in order to help ensure that everything is running smoothly, the department annually employs nearly 250 student staff members.

“As a department we are the largest student employer on campus,” said Steve Young, director of Recreation Services, which is a part of the Division of Student Affairs. “A good 30 percent of what we do as a department has to do with staff training to make sure that the other components are running well.”

Those components include intramurals, sport clubs, informal recreation, special events and programs, group fitness, adapted recreation and aquatics. To keep them all running smoothly, the development of their student staff has become a significant priority in recent years.

In the fall of 2004, Recreation Services created a Student Staff Development element.

Recently, Recreation Services has placed new emphasis on Student Staff Development by becoming a branch of the Student Leadership Challenge, which was created by Student Affairs.

“The [Student Staff Development] program has upgraded the way in which we deliver our services,” Young said. “Our budget remains the same pretty much every year, so we have to be wise about how we use our resources. Student staff wages are a significant part of our operating expense.”

The program encompasses a multitude of training areas: leadership opportunities, recognition avenues and special activities. The overriding focus is on providing friendly and speedy customer service, being aware of workplace safety and encouraging students to take on leadership roles.

Recreation Services’ efforts have seemed to pay off, attracting more student workers than any other Temple department.

“I applied for a job with Recreation Services because the people are friendly and I love the atmosphere,” said senior Lauren Marcus, a fitness attendant at the IBC.

“For me, it was all about the diversity of the people who work here,” added senior Tymira Wright, building supervisor of the IBC. “I really enjoy working for a department that offers a wide range of activities to Temple students.”

The department has tried to make student jobs not only fun, but also educational.

The new student staff development program mandates that all employees take regular online quizzes to test their knowledge of various emergency procedures and customer service policies.

“The atmosphere is very relaxed and social, but at the same time there is an element of always having to be ready for the unexpected,” Wright said. “The gym can be a dangerous place, and it’s our job to make sure everyone is safe and happy.”

In order to ensure that safety, staff members must be certified in first aid/CPR.

But, according to Wright, being a part of the staff isn’t all hard work. She said there are many perks to her job, such as free Temple fitness gear and invitations to special employee events.

“The greatest thing about the program is that we give students constant opportunity to have input into what we do and how we do it,” Young said. “Having that kind of responsibility is unusual for most student workers and really prepares them for on-the-job problem solving.”

- By Karen Shuey