KUTZTOWN, PA – KU’s University Relations (UR) office has implemented a new staff and department recognition feature. KUDOS, Kutztown University’s Dedication to Outstanding Service, focuses on university administrative departments and the individuals within them, giving the campus community a better look inside many of the working areas on campus.
This week, we sat down with Recreational Services to get an inside look at the dedicated individuals who ensure that Kutztown always offers high-quality, cutting-edge facilities and programs designed to promote and enhance a lifestyle of wellness and healthy choices.
UR: Can you introduce yourselves and tell us how long you’ve been with KU?
AS: I’m Amy Sandt, I’m the assistant vice president of Recreational Services and Athletic Resources and I’ve been at KU for 12 years.
MB: My name is Matt Barrett, I’m the coordinator of Structured Sports and I’ve been at Kutztown for four years.
TT: My name is Tracy Turner, I’m the administrative assistant and I’ve been at KU for 13 years.
UR: What is your department’s role and mission at the university?
AS: Recreational Services is here to provide high-quality, safe recreational opportunities for both the students and the university community as a whole.
MB: Our role is to help students engage in a healthy lifestyle, whether that be through group exercise classes, working out at the gym, or participating in intramural or club sports, we want to help them stay active.
TT: Our mission is to provide quality programming, a state-of-the-art facility with state-of-the-art equipment, and good work and workout experiences for the campus community to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
UR: Can you explain your department’s staff make-up and responsibilities?
AS: We have a pretty small staff. Aside from myself, there’s Tracy Turner, our office manager. She manages the operations of the facilities and carries out the day-to-day operations of the department as a whole. There’s also Matt Barrett, who is in charge of club sports and our intramural program, which services about 2,000 students over the course of the year. We also rely heavily on our student staff to keep the facility open throughout the year. We have about 80 student staff who work in the facility, over at the pool and also in our intramural programs. In addition, we also have two graduate assistants who work with us throughout the academic year. I oversee the whole department, but mainly work with the staff and the budget. I help create some of the programming and then make sure that all the pieces are in place to have our events function effectively. We focus a lot on maintaining our facilities and making sure they’re safe and well-kept, which is a process I oversee. But my primary responsibilities are communicating with the staff and addressing any issues that may occur, as well as setting up policies and procedures.
MB: Besides Tracy, Amy and myself, we have two graduate assistants who help with the marketing and promotions of our events and facilities, as well as approximately 80 student staff members between the rec center and intramural sports. My responsibilities include managing intramural sports and sport clubs. I’m in charge of the hiring, training and scheduling of our student staff, as well as that of intramural officials, scorekeepers and supervisors. I also organize intramural league events. I serve as the main advisor to all rec and sport clubs, so I make sure their executive boards are in line with all university policies and assist them with anything else they need for their league or participants.
TT: My role is to train student staff on the point of sale system, manage the daily reconciling of the sales, take care of the purchasing, contracts and building inspections, and maintain the fitness center equipment. I also maintain and check-out athletic equipment to students.
UR: How does your department serve students and the campus community?
AS: We provide a lot of opportunities for recreation, including group exercise experiences and open recreational facilities, which are maintained with a focus on safety. We make sure our equipment is up to date and cutting-edge to what’s currently happening in the fitness industry. We also provide a number of opportunities for students in the club area and in the intramural area so that they’re able to develop good habits for health and wellness as they move on into the real world.
MB: In addition to promoting a healthy lifestyle to students, the facility offers them an opportunity to participate in events and make new friends. It also serves as a way for student to decompress – if they have a tough class or a test coming up, they can come down here for an hour and get a workout in to help clear their mind so they can better focus later.
TT: By providing programs that everyone can be involved with, whether its faculty and staff joining the rec center or students participating in group exercise programs, intramural sports or club sports.
UR: What are the points of pride in your department?
AS: In our department, it’s definitely our facility. The students who utilize it, which is about 1,100 students a day, take great pride in it and take good care of it. The building will be 13 years old in August, but it’s very well-maintained. We also have some exceptional clubs that perform very well locally and nationally, and have brought great stories, athletes and pride to the university. A number of students who have worked for us have gone on to careers in recreation, which is something that I’m proud of personally.
MB: First and foremost, the facility. It’s a great facility and a lot of our equipment is brand-new; we always try to offer the best that we can to students. Another thing is that we always have something going on for students. From the second week of the fall semester until the last week of the spring semester, we offer intramural events and group fitness classes – there’s always something for everyone to be a part of and be active.
TT: What I’m most proud of is the appearance, safety and cleanliness of the facility. I also take pride in the fact that we provide a friendly environment for everyone who comes to the rec center. It’s a stress-relieving facility for everyone on campus and we take pride in our welcoming environment.
UR: What would you like people to know about your department that they may not know already?
AS: Generally, I’d say the number of group exercise programs that we offer. I don’t think people are always aware of them, no matter how much marketing of those programs we try to do. It’s great for people who might be intimidated by coming to the facility on their own – they can come with friends and introduce themselves to recreation, fitness and the facility in a more comfortable setting. As far as our staff is concerned, it’s how much pride our professional staff and graduate assistants take in what they do; they always make sure that they accomplish as much as possible and provide a lot of opportunities for the campus community, even though the department is so small. The student staff will stay late or come early if they have to and will do whatever it takes to make sure things are in place so that the facility operates smoothly throughout the whole day.
MB: We’re always willing to grow and always looking for new ideas about what to offer. For example, if someone has a new idea for a new group fitness class or an intramural sport that we don’t offer, we’re willing to meet with them and go over logistics to see if we can try and offer it to grow even more.
TT: Faculty and staff can join and have their membership rates reduced through payroll deduction – it’s a nice perk for those who work on campus. We also offer free group exercise classes Monday through Thursday at the end of the workday for faculty and staff, one of them being yoga, which is an initiative through human resources.
UR: How can the campus community learn more or become involved with your department?
AS: Stop by the rec center! There’s a lot of things happening here all the time, so it’s great to stop in and see what’s going on. We do have a website that people can visit to get information, but we’re also at all of the open houses and have signs posted around campus that list our different activities. I truly think stopping by and asking questions is the best way to get a good idea of what we do. They can try things out, too! A few activities we offer may not be familiar to some people, like our climbing wall, so it’s a great opportunity to come and try new things. Our department is also always open to partnering with other departments, like for leadership and team-building exercises, so there are opportunities here that might not be available in other areas of campus.
MB: Besides coming to the rec center, we do have a website that lists everything they need to know including our group exercise schedule, intramural registration deadlines and hours of operation. We also have social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and we update our events on there to keep everyone updated on what we have going on.
TT: By attending any of our special events throughout the year or by coming and trying the fitness center for a day at no cost to you. It gives you a basic hands-on experience to decide if the facility or the classes are right for you.
UR: What’s your favorite thing about your KU experience?
AS: The people, specifically the people that I work with in this office every day. They’re wonderful to work with and everyone has the mentality of ‘we have to do whatever it takes to get things done,’ which is certainly pleasant to come in to every day. We can throw crazy ideas around with each other and if we come up with something that we think would be good for the university or the department, they’re willing to make it happen. People on campus have also been supportive of what we want to do and we try to be supportive of their ideas and initiatives as well, so the collaborative effort here on campus is something I’m very appreciative of. It makes it fun to come to work.
MB: That I get to work directly with the students and see how they enjoy our facilities and programs. Growing up, I really enjoyed sports and being active, and that continued into my college years as well. Being a part of the rec center here and seeing students having fun at our events is exciting for me because I know how fun it was in college for me.
TT: The interaction with our student staff. We typically have them for the entire four years that they’re here, so we develop close relationships with the students who work for us. It’s great to see them get married, have children, maintain friendships they made here and return after years of being out of college to visit us – it’s a pretty rewarding experience.
UR: What does “It’s Good to be Golden” mean to you?
AS: Pride in Kutztown. Taking pride in offering students the best experience that we possibly can so that when they leave, they really do feel like it was good to be here. We want students to have a great experience so that they take what they did here, like creating a healthy lifestyle and creating healthy habits, into the future and make it a part of them.
MB: Having a sense of pride of being a part of the Kutztown family, as well as performing my best so that the university can be at its best.
TT: The pride that you feel being a part of the KU campus whether you work here or you’re a student. It’s something that I think you carry on and continue once you’ve finished your degree and moved on. For example, my daughter and her fiancé are both KU alumni and they have a plaque in their home that says, “Stay Golden, KU,” so I think it’s definitely a sense of pride you take with you once you graduate from Kutztown University.
KUDOS is published twice monthly by the office of University Relations. All issues can be found at www.kutztown.edu/KUDOS.