Seven Drexel University students from different backgrounds and majors cram into an office in the Drexel Recreation Center.
They’re members of the Recreational Athletics’ marketing team in a planning session for the new video blog (vlog), My Rec Life, which launched in September but is months in the making.
The blog aims to enhance the student experience by showcasing the various recreational outlets available to Drexel students in an educational, engaging and humanizing way. The assembled blog team does this by creating videos which introduce various group fitness classes, club sports and intramural sports that some students may not know exist or may not have the inclination to try.
This team takes their work and the blog’s aim very seriously — planning shoots that won’t be released for months, taking meticulous notes and discussing new ways to engage more students with their content. But they’re doing this all while sharing laughs and exuding a sense of camaraderie, teamwork not unlike the sports teams they spotlight or the team-like atmosphere they hope that the Rec Center conveys to their peers.
“One of the big things with the vlog specifically is that one of Drexel’s core values is inclusion,” said Matt Kopyt, a fourth-year music industry major who joined the Rec Center marketing team this term. “We want to showcase that we’re all just normal students participating in these intense group exercises, and you can do it too. You don’t have to be a star athlete to come in to the Rec to get a productive workout in and feel good about yourself. Anyone can be a part of the recreational community on campus, working on both your physical and mental health during your academic career here.”
My Rec Life vlogs will be released in seasons, with season one wrapping up Nov. 14 and season two kicking off in week one of the winter term. Andrew Case, manager of sales and marketing for the Department of Athletics, Recreation, said planning for the blog commenced back in March 2018, and since then, a lot of behind-the-scenes work went into making the engaging videos that can be viewed today.
Despite this, the goal for starting My Rec Life was simple.
“The blog puts a human touch on the department’s values and our mission to promote healthy, active lifestyles to the Drexel community, and brings that engagement down to the student body level,” Case said.
The personalities of the students who put together My Rec Life purposefully shine through in the videos, Case said, so they do not come off boring or scripted. Nate Footman, a fourth-year marketing major who has been working on the project since its inception, said he hopes the videos are something that other students can “throw on and just thoroughly enjoy” while also being inspired to try something new.
“Trying to live a balanced life can be extremely hard and it’s very easy to avoid doing new things” he said. “So, I think that the vlog is really an opportunity to show students what’s out there without necessarily having to dedicate an entire afternoon to it, because that’s a lot.”
These are new, unconventional experiences for the student bloggers, as well — none of whom identify as seasoned athletes. Connor Levesque, a second-year film and video major, said he had no idea what rugby even was before the blog spotlighted Drexel’s two club teams.
“Hopefully the vlog helps someone else see what rugby is,” he mused. “I was like, ‘Wow, rugby is actually really cool!’”
Not only are these student bloggers able to get plenty of on-camera time through their participation with My Rec Life, but they also gain valuable work experience which applies across their various majors. These range from interactive digital media to mechanical engineering.
“Marketing can be applied to any industry you go into, because it’s really just about promoting something, and everything needs promotion,” Levesque said.
Additionally, the fact that their work gets posted on behalf of the University is a great source of fulfillment.
“We’re very much on the forefront of representing the University as a whole,” Kopyt said. “I think that’s a super unique experience specifically for individuals looking to get into the creative realm — producing content that is literally being posted on Drexel’s website.”
Case said he’s glad that these students can gain opportunities to work as a team, see creative ideas through to fruition, learn about personal accountability, have pride in their work and develop leadership skills — all while having fun doing it.
“When you’re having fun and passionate about what you’re doing, your work really shines,” he said.
Back at the meeting, before heading back for classes and into non-recreational reality, the students couldn’t agree with Case’s sentiment more.
“To enjoy what you’re doing and who you’re working with definitely offsets whatever work you have to do,” Footman said of working on the blog.
“Yeah, I don’t feel like we’re working when we come for these meetings because we’re just laughing so much, but we get it done and produce good content,” Levesque added.
Check out My Rec Life on the Recreational Athletics website and their Youtube channel.