Colorado State University’s department of Campus Recreation brought eight awards home from the recent conference of NIRSA (formerly known as the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association), leaving as the most decorated collegiate recreation program in the country this year.
The NIRSA awards celebrated the marketing and communication efforts of Campus Recreation as well as the individual accomplishments of two professional staff members.
“National recognition of Campus Recreation’s talented professional and student staff members was a result of their dedication and effort to improve the recreation and well-being experience, with a focus on involvement and inclusion, for Colorado State’s community as a whole,” said Judy Muenchow, executive director of Campus Recreation.
The 2018 national conference took place the week of March 4 in Denver and was attended by more than 2,700 professionals. The conference host committee assembled professionals from across the state to lead the planning efforts, including Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado, Regis University and Colorado State University. Professionals from CSU served on the committee, including 2018 Conference Chair Erin Patchett.
Excellence in marketing
Campus Recreation’s marketing and communications efforts were awarded three Creative Excellence Awards, including two gold awards and one bronze. The Creative Excellence Awards focus on outstanding marketing and advertising materials published by the NIRSA membership.
Campus Recreation took home Gold in the Comprehensive Brochure & Facility Publication category and both Gold and Bronze in the Student Publication category. The projects recognized include videos, brochures and a first-year student poster series, all worked on and developed by student staff members.
CSU’s Campus Recreation also won three awards in the T-shirt design competition. Two first-place ribbons were presented in the staff shirt and outdoor program shirt categories, as well as a third-place ribbon in the single-color screen category.
Campus Recreation’s marketing and communications work is primarily executed by a dedicated student team consisting of 14 students in positions ranging from graphic designers to photographers, all overseen by one professional staff member. Each person on the team works collaboratively on creative projects to gain real-world experience that can transfer to their eventual careers.
Two professional staff members received national recognition for professionalism in their work. Loretta Capra, Campus Recreation development specialist, was selected for the NIRSA Foundation Leadership Award for 2018. This national award recognizes a single individual in appreciation for contributions of time, talent and treasure towards sponsorship and donor relations.
“This award not only epitomizes Loretta’s commitment to service on the national level, but also as an Administrative Professional completing 40 years of service supporting collegiate recreation at CSU,” Muenchow said. “Loretta’s dedication across decades has enriched the campus experience in multiple ways.”
Brit Heiring, communications and marketing manager, was awarded the Horace Moody Award for Region V in NIRSA. The award is bestowed on six professional staff members from around the country for outstanding commitment to student development. Heiring serves as the professional staff member overseeing the department’s marketing and has grown the area into a student team over the past five years. Her dedication to her students’ development is evident through the collaborative team challenges she assigns each year, which focus on growing inclusive communication skills and cross-positional competency.
“She pushes her students beyond what they believe they can do in their life and is always there for encouragement along the way,” said Brooke Flaten, a student project manager. “I feel so fortunate every day to have her mentorship and help.”
NIRSA is a higher education association composed of collegiate recreation, sport, and fitness departments from across the United States and Canada. The association began in 1950 as the National Intramural Association, eventually taking on the moniker NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation. There are over 600 member institutions belonging to NIRSA, from small community colleges to large, land-grant universities like Colorado State.