March 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 46

FUTURE LEADERS

Education, Preparation, Vocation (Part One):
The Benefits of Participation in Recreation
Undergraduate Student Clubs
By Anna Pechenik Mausolf, CPRP

I

loved being a member of the Student Recreation Association at Central
Michigan University. As an undergraduate outdoor and environmental recreation major, two hours each Monday evening were dedicated to socializing, laughing and developing our leadership abilities with fellow students from
the Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services Administration. We
had an absolute blast!
Today, whenever I reflect upon
the skills that promote success in
our field, things like organization,
communication, networking, flexibility, politicking and so many
others, my gratitude for that opportunity continues to grow. Joining
the academic department's student
club can be a marvelous and enriching experience for many students
during higher education.

44

Parks & Recreation

Across the country, student club
participation varies widely from program to program, and some of the
numbers are surprising. Although
both North Carolina State University and the University of North Alabama have thriving recreation degree
programs, neither has a student association. Texas A&M boasts almost
500 recreation, park, and tourism
science undergrads, yet only 15 of

| M A R C H 2 0 1 4 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

those students are actively involved
in RPTS Club. At Eastern Kentucky
University, however, almost 70 of
the 110 recreation majors are members of the Recreation Club. Indiana
University and Western Illinois University are two that offer more than
one club; recreation students there
can choose between different organizations depending on their academic
achievement, area of concentration
or professional interests.
Many of the wonderful colleagues
whom I contacted for this article
spoke to the welcoming social nature
of these clubs. Dr. Brooke Burk, an
assistant professor at the State University of New York-Cortland, says,



March 2014 - Parks & Recreation

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