NIRSA 2015 Conference Wrap Up

Campus Recreation Receives Awards, Scholarships at National Conference

Grapevine, Texas

Sixteen professional staff and students from Colorado State University’s Campus Recreation department attended the NIRSA (National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association) National Conference in Grapevine, Texas. 


Colorado State University Campus Recreation walked away with several awards spanning a variety of areas. Professional staff members Erin Patchett and Jason Foster received the 2015 Research and Assessment Award for their project titled Inclusive Recreation: The state of collegiate policies, facilities, trainings, and programs for transgender participants. The award is given to one institution each year.

Campus Recreation was awarded first place in the NIRSA Creative Excellence Awards for their website, Brittany Heiring, Communications Manager for Campus Recreation, received the award.

Colorado State was also awarded first place in the t-shirt design competition in the “staff apparel” category for their student staff training shirt “BPOC, the Best Place on Campus”.


Arianne Judy was awarded the NIRSA Foundation Will Holsberry Scholarship to attend the conference and the NIRSA School of Collegiate Recreation Level I in St. Louis. Joey Halpin received the NIRSA Foundation Bill Thompson Scholarship to attend the annual conference. Student and graduating senior, Erin Guy, received the Region V scholarship.

Graduate Assistantships

One goal of the student staff in attendance at NIRSA is to obtain a graduate assistantship with a peer institution to continue their career in campus recreation. All of the Colorado State students in attendance were awarded a GA.  Katherine Montgomery will be attending the University of Georgia, Erin Guy will be attending the University of Tennessee, and CSU alum Brandon Ohr will be attending Boise State. CSU alum Adam Hickle, who graduated last May, was also offered a position with the Colorado School of Mines recreation program.

Committees & Service

NIRSA functions primarily on the efforts of volunteers, and Colorado State stepped up to the opportunity. Staff serve on various committees including the Recreational Sports Exposition Committee, NIRSA Conference Program Committee, Research and Assessment Committee, Foundation Scholarship Committee, and the #RecChat Committee. Volunteer opportunities included staff acting as session monitors and conference program table guides.


In addition to the awards and scholarships that Colorado State University received, Campus Recreation professional and student staff presented several educational sessions at the conference. Student staff member Erin Guy had a poster presentation titled The Gender Line: How It Manifests in Campus Recreation. Heather Foster, Ben Burnham, Erin Patchett, and Joey Halpin co-presented Assessing Customer Service, Job Knowledge, and Emergency Response with Departmental Audits. In addition, Inclusive Messaging: Reflecting your Values in your Marketing was co-presented by Erin Patchett, Brittany Heiring, and student staff member Ashley Wylde. Campus Recreation intern, Sarah Lewis, presented at the Collegiate Trends Research Roundtable on How Technology is Being Used to Foster Student Wellbeing and Enhance the Value of Collegiate Recreation. Finally, Erin Patchett presented along with members from the NIRSA Research and Assessment Committee on Articulating the Value of Campus Recreation through Research and Assessment.

Lasting Impact

The annual NIRSA Conference always invigorates collegiate staff to return to their campuses with new and innovative ideas and solutions, and this year was no exception. Joey Halpin expressed that “the conference solidified my opinions that Colorado State Campus Recreation is providing quality programs and services to the campus community.” Colorado State University left a great impression and lasting impact on the NIRSA community through their heavy involvement in this year’s conference. Brittany Heiring White stated “I was so incredibly proud to be a part of such a progressive university and an inclusive department, and I was continually reminded through the positive comments by staff from peer institutions that Colorado State University Campus Recreation is truly doing great work for not only our community, but our own student staff.”

“The NIRSA annual conference was as amazing professional development opportunity that I am very appreciative to have experienced.  I was proud to co-present with colleagues from my institution as well as peers from across the nation. I have returned to CSU’s campus with my passion for inclusive recreation reignited thanks to the great educational sessions I was able to attend at the conference.” – Erin Patchett

“I love attending the NIRSA Annual Conference because I get to reconnect with and meet new colleagues from across the country.  I always leave feeling motivated, inspired and excited to bring new methods and ideas back to our campus.” – Michelle Gehret

“This year’s NIRSA conference made me reflect on how grateful I am to the people who helped me get to where I am today. I am looking forward to bringing the things I learned back to Campus Rec in order to continue to develop our student staff and offer exceptional programming to the CSU community.” – Arianne Judy   

Professional staff in attendance: Heather Foster, Erin Patchett, Tyson Kehler, Michelle Gehret, Ben Burnham, Joey Halpin, Jason Foster, Brittany Heiring, Adam Walsh, Arianne Judy. Student staff: Ashley Wylde, Erin Guy, Katherine Montgomery, Sarah Lewis, Chelsea, and Emily. CSU recent alumni: Adam Hickle and Brandon Ohr.