Drexel University boasts diversity in all areas of campus life, from the classroom to the Korman Quad, and from the crowd at a career fair to the audience cheering on our Dragons at a sporting event.
But according to Andrew Case, manager of sales and marketing for the Department of Athletics, Recreation, there’s a specific building on campus where diversity really shines: the Drexel Recreation Center.
“[There is] a very diverse background of people who are using our facility, no matter the major, no matter your background, no matter your ethnicity or your gender,” he says. “This is a place that is tremendously welcoming for people on campus and it's really clear in our mission and values as a department.”
Case hopes that this and many other factors about what the Rec Center offers are evident to the students, faculty, staff and community members who chose to utilize its amenities. But with any campus resource, there’s a chance for misconceptions to arise. According to Case, here are some Rec Center myths that it’s time to debunk:
The Rec Center is more for those who want to stay in shape, rather than those who want to get in shape.
For students who may be questioning the advantages of being active, Case cites a study from North Carolina State University which found a positive correlation between undergraduate academic performance and physical activity, including a 49 percent increase in the graduation rate for students who worked out just one hour a week.
“When you read a number like that and you tell students, ‘This is going to benefit you. Not just physically, but mentally as well.’ … I think people are going to latch on to that,” he said.
However, maybe some Dragons out there realize the benefits, but don’t know where to start when it comes to getting in shape. For these students, Case would implore them to look past their inhibitions and simply walk through the Rec Center doors.
“There’s no wrong answer for who you are and what you want to do here,” he said. “I think the hardest part of going to a gym is going to a gym. Once you're here, that's the easy part. You're surrounded by different things to do to work up a sweat, burn some calories or do something that's beneficial for your health. Once you're here, it becomes fun!”
Case added that students new the gym will also find the friendly, familiar faces of their peers to help them on their fitness journey.
“We are primarily student-run,” he said. “We have student staff working at the welcome center, the fitness floor, the group exercise room, the climbing wall and at the pool. So, to get acclimated here, simply ask a question to any of our staff and there’s a great chance it’s going to be a student that's answering that question.”
Check out Recreational Athletics “Beginners Guide to Exercise” for more tips.
The Rec Center is only for Drexel Students.
Though the Rec Center staff is mostly comprised of students, patronage at the Rec Center reaches far beyond the Drexel student population.
In fact, according to Case, 645,000 people from more than 100 countries have stepped into the Rec Center in the last year. Little-known user populations include those from the 25 active corporate partners the Rec Center holds within the community, including Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Amtrak and FMC. Additionally, the Rec Center draws other student populations, including those from other colleges who sign up for a special membership when they are home locally for the summer.
This diversity of users will continue to become evident as the next phases of the Center’s “The Balanced Project” digital campaign come to light. The campaign — which features images of Dragons from different majors, backgrounds and genders working on their physical and mental fitness — will soon highlight faculty/staff and community members, after previously highlighting students.
“The Balanced Project proves that as a department we are striving to be innovative, continually thinking outside the box and looking to capitalize on being a positive influence for everyone,” Case said of the campaign.
Rec Center offerings are focused on individual workouts.
Another misconception, reports Case, is the idea that working out should be a solo activity.
“Statistics show that working out in a small group is a huge motivating factor for people to continue to progress in their development of aerobic exercise and reach new goals,” he said.
That’s why the Rec Center boasts a group exercise program with “phenomenal” classes, Case said. These offerings go beyond the standards like yoga, Zumba and Pilates, branching out to specialized classes with names like Cardio ‘N’ Tone, BodyCombat™ and Shockwave™.
The Rec Center’s signature rock climbing wall is another group workout staple, Case said. In fact, corporate partners even arrange to use the wall for team-building activities with employees, he added.
“And our staff up there is comprised of more than 25 student staff as well,” Case said.
The Rec Center is just for “play.”
To this end, Case hopes that students will start thinking about the Rec Center as a place for work, as well as play. He’s quick to mention the phenomenon of “sweat-working,” or modern-day professionals choosing a gym setting to connect with people or host meetings, rather than doing so in a boardroom.
“A lot of Fortune 500 companies will no longer take a client out to the golf course. They’ll take them into the gym,” Case said. “They'll do an hour group exercise class or they'll play squash together and they'll have conversations with one another because it's kind of letting your guard down.”
Students can apply this same idea to meetings with peers or professors, as sweat-working can be a great way to breakdown inhibitions and barriers between different types of people.
“You’re just two people who are competing in fun activities together and the conversation becomes more about other things in life as well,” Case said. “I think you can truly connect with someone once you see how hard they work or see them [doing] a physical activity. So, it's a good benefit to this facility that I don't think a lot of people use.”
The Rec Center is a great place to work!
Speaking of the Rec Center as a place for work, Case is also quick to praise the hundreds of students that the Center employees, whether as members of his marketing team, as intramural sport referees or anything in between. He said that working for Recreational Athletics is a great way for students to learn time management skills and what it’s like to work for a big organization.
“I need students to be able to time manage, to develop a project, to work on the solution, see it through to the end and hit deadlines,” he said. “I believe there's no better place for students to work to [experience] professional growth on campus than the Rec Center because there's so many opportunities to develop professional growth for after graduation.”
To learn more about student employment opportunities at the Rec Center, click here.