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CRC Strategic Impact

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2016 Highlights Well-Being in Practice On the Horizon

Campus Recreation’s role in impacting health and well-being at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Welcome from the Senior Director of Campus Recreation At the Campus Recreation Complex (CRC), health and well-being are not just buzz words. They are the primary focus when developing programs and services for the Georgia Tech community. The 2016 Strategic Impact Report focuses on our impact in spearheading the campus Health & Well-Being initiatives and creating an environment of integrated well-being for our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Using the Georgia Tech strategy model that outlines the five dimensions of well-being (Professional, Spiritual, Emotional, Social, and Physical) and the levels of change in which they occur (Personal, Interpersonal, Organizational, Environmental, and Policy), members of the Georgia Tech community can reflect on their personal experiences at the

CRC, defining their journey towards total wellbeing. Well-being has become a major topic across college campuses nationwide, and Georgia Tech has been on the cutting edge of this trend, offering programs and services infused in each dimension. Framing programs and services through this lens allows us to reach a broader audience on multiple levels. This report highlights just some of the ways the CRC provides a strategic impact to the Institute and fosters a culture of caring and well-being. The CRC is leading the way in providing an atmosphere that allows the Georgia Tech community to travel their own path to a healthy, smart, and happy lifestyle.

Michael Edwards

Senior Director Campus Recreation Office of Health & Well-Being

Address: 750 Ferst Dr. Atlanta, GA 30332 Website: Contact: (404) 385-PLAY


Campus Recreation Complex (CRC) Entrance

A Strategic Impact Report Contents

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2016 Highlights

An overview of the program, event and services highlights from 2016.

An Integrative Approach to Well-Being Campus Recreation’s role in Health & Well-Being for all of campus.

Social & Physical WellBeing

CRC staff have taken the lead on demonstrating social and physical wellbeing on campus.

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Professional Well-Being

Student staff’s professional development through employment at the CRC.

Emotional & Spiritual Well-Being

Tech Trek freshman orientation trip impact on staff well-being.

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On the Horizon A sneak peak at what is to come for 2017.

Jessica Allison, CRC student staff, wins the inaugural Michael Edwards Award for Excellence. Read more on page 12.

Tech Trek Freshman Orientation Trips focus on developing successful incoming Georgia Tech students. Learn more on page 15.


Georgia Tech Administrative Excellence Award:

Campus Services Employee of the Month:

Walter Kolis USG’s Chancellor’s Service Excellence Leader of the Year: Honorable Metion: Michael Edwards

5 Staff Awards

Recreational Sports Journal Research Publication: Dan Hazlett


Jennifer Pecoraro Kelli Rockwell Jennifer Sternecker

Campus Recreation Magazine Leader in Recreation Feature Article: Michael Edwards

#1 Collegiate Swimming Pool in the Nation (College Ranker): McAuley Aquatic Center, Campus Recreation Complex

NCAA Men’s & Women’s National Championships & Record 47 Setting Performances:

Hosted the USA Olympic Swimming & Diving Training Camps & Rio Send Off

Construction and dedication of the Kiehl Bleachers at Roe Stamps Recreational Field 4 | HIGHLIGHTS


Pool Record

NCAA Record



U.S. Open American Records Records

ORGT led 17 Adventure Expeditions:


7 International


10 National teCh ReC Summer Camp: campers per week


40 teams from the eastern region of the country 40 Teams competed in the NIRSA Championship Series Regional Basketball Tournament at the CRC

Entries through Access Control per year:


227 Participants on the 6th annual Halloween Holla 5K Run & Walk along Pi Mile


Year Anniversary of the Centennial Olympic Games


donation from the Make-A-Splash Foundation to offer free swim lessons to 100 area youths in the CESIMIC Summer Enrichment Program

Aquatic Events:

106.5 Days 46 Events

$30 Millon Economic Impact

1,639 Teams 70,589 Spectators


The Integration of Campus Recreation and Health & Well-Being: How Georgia Tech’s Campus Recreation is leading the way forward. In 2015, the Department of Campus Recreation was moved from the Division of Student Affairs to the Division of Campus Services placing Campus Recreation, Health Promotion, and Stamps Health Services under one office: Health & Well-Being. Executive Director Dr. Suzy Harrington was brought on board in December of 2015, and the vision to create an environment of health, well-being, and caring on Georgia Tech’s campus was beginning to take shape. It wasn’t long before Georgia Tech’s concept of integrated well-being began attracting attention from other universities and associations. The Campus Recreation Complex (CRC) was featured in articles and eMagazines, such as Campus Rec Magazine and the NIRSA Know. NIRSA Special Projects Coordinator Alice Kersting writes, “The need to create a culture of integrated wellness is emerging on college campuses as both a new concept and a re-imagining of traditional recreation offerings.” Kersting says that this trend extends beyond facility design and usage by

Michael Edwards and Suzy Harrington visit the Einstein statue after its installation to highlight locations students can utilize to relax on campus.


marking a positive change in structures and goals. Universities are asking campus recreation facilities to implement this emerging trend on their campuses, and to embrace innovations in wellness. It just so happens that according to Kersting, the Georgia Institute of Technology is at the forefront of this emerging trend in collegiate recreation. “Georgia Tech is strengthening its commitment to wellness on campus by re-envisioning the scope, breadth, and model of its community health and wellbeing programs and services,” she writes. In “top-down review from University President Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson.” The question was asked, how could existing and new programs and services more comprehensively serve the Georgia Tech community? In response to that question, the Center for Community Health and Well-being was created in 2015 with Dr. Suzy Harrington, the Center’s first and current Executive Director, leading the way.

Kersting writes that, “A key element of Georgia Tech’s health and wellbeing strategy is to focus more on the community as a whole.” The CRC has made efforts to broaden its reach beyond students and serve other members of their campus community including staff and alumni. Along with many other developments, Health & Well-Being has created its own five dimensional model of wellness that encompasses the social, emotional, spiritual, physical and professional aspects of health. Kersting asserts that this model is important because, “focus on this many-dimension model provides ample opportunity for Georgia Tech to strengthen current programs and offerings so that patrons better understand and develop their total well-being.” Kersting discusses the many contributing factors involved in the creation of Health & Well-being, including both a top-down and bottom-up support structure. She writes “[f]rom its conception, Geor-

A key element of Georgia Tech’s health and wellbeing strategy is to focus more on the community as a whole. gia Tech Health & Well-Being received top-down support; President Peterson envisioned an integration of health and wellbeing partners for the campus community. From below, Georgia Tech students, faculty, and staff—especially those involved in the Go T.E.C.H. coalition—were supportive of increased health and well-being programs and services as well as increased coordination amongst different program areas.” President Peterson acknowledges the impact of the new model on campus, as well as its potential. “The initiative is an effort to explore alignment opportunities for wellness, mental health, alcohol and drug education, and sexual violence prevention. We

President Peterson and Mrs. Peterson at the 2016 President’s Walk

are taking a concerted institute-wide approach to creating a safer and healthier campus, one focused on the overall health and wellbeing of our entire campus community,” notes President Peterson. Dr. Harrington understands the importance of working closely with other organizations throughout campus such as Student Life and Dining to name a few. “Cross-collaboration pools resources and enables campus partners to join forces, which creates opportunities to reach more members of the Georgia Tech community,” says Dr. Harrington. The CRC is working to shift the understanding of what health and well-being is. “Most individuals think they know what health and well-being is—they often think of diet and exercise. Health and well-being is who we are—not what we do,” says Caroline Dotts [Associate Director of Healthy Lifestyle Programs at the CRC]. Dr. Harrington understands how this shift may prove difficult, and that is why the CRC is slowly nudging it along. “It is a harmony, not a balance, of our well-being. It is about being the best we can be each moment, striving for excellence, not perfection. This shift isn’t easy,” says Dr. Harrington. Kersting says that while this change is a challenge, Georgia Tech Health & Well-Being as a whole is facing this hurdle as an opportunity to better position itself as a leader amongst wellness services and programs. Excerpts from “Georgia Tech is at the forefront of integrated wellness, an emerging trend in collegiate recreation” Alice Kersting, Special Projects Coordinator at NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation


Social & Physical Well-Being


How CRC staff are leading by example. In January, the CRC professional staff created a “minutes” challenge that focused on the department’s core values and culture statement. The challenge encouraged the team of 22 professional staff to record their minutes of daily physical activity. The group was split into two teams of 11, and the team with the most accumulated minutes of physical activity would be crowned victor in December 2016. What started was a journey toward personal physical well-being morphed into a shared vision for all dimensions of well-being and a new appreciation of the work we do to inspire healthy lifestyles in the Georgia Tech community.



Professional Staff





Tracking physical activity minutes daily


Staff per Team




Team with the most accumulated minutes of physical activity would be crowned victor

Becoming that Person Jennifer Pecoraro Jennifer Pecoraro has been the Member Services Coordinator for almost two years. Over the course of the year-long challenge, Jennifer logged 20,597 minutes, coming in 11th place overall. She says that “starting this challenge was quite daunting to me; I never had too much time to focus on my physical well-being. I took this challenge as an opportunity to engage with multiple dimensions of well-being; this mostly involved social and physical well-being. Since participating in this challenge, my outlook on my pursuit of physical well-being has changed. In fact, it’s quite a positive outlook now. Pursuing physical well-being is now a positive, regular, and enjoyable part of my everyday life.”


Since participating in this challenge, my outlook on my pursuit of physical well-being has changed.

Jennifer goes on to say that “Since taking on this challenge, I have learned life-long skills that will aid me in pursuing my physical well-being. With support from co-workers, I have learned how to swim with stroke development and have signed up for three 5Ks this year thus far. Additionally, partaking in this challenge changed the way I work. Now, if the opportunity is there, I arrange walking meetings instead of sitting at our desks. Now I can say that I’m that person who I always wanted to be.”



Learned to


Jennifer Pecoraro swims during the 2017 Navy Seal Challenge.

I Do Have Time for the Gym! Jennifer Sternecker Jenny Sternecker has been with the CRC for almost three years, serving in the role of Aquatics Operations Manager. Jenny posted 32,730 total minutes in the Challenge, which is an average of 625 minutes per week! She ranked 5th overall in the department. Jenny says that “this experience kept me accountable to living an active lifestyle. Going forward in 2017, I am still working out 5-6 days a week in attempts to achieve my challenge goals.”

Exercising is part of my daily life, not just physically but emotionally as well.

Jenny says “my overall goal prior to the minute challenge was to lose the weight I put on since moving into a new city. I ended up losing 35 pounds and am the strongest, fastest and healthiest I have ever been. I learned the importance of healthy eating, rest days, and proper weight training. Exercising is part of my daily life, not just physically but emotionally as well. Exercising improves my productivity at work. Most importantly





Place Overall SOCIAL & PHYSICAL | 9

I definitely felt inspired and compelled to do my very best to help serve and support this wonderful initiative.

Jonathan Hart walks during the 2016 President’s Campus Walk.

Inspired by the Challenge


2nd Place


40,443 Minutes

Jonathan Hart Jonathan Hart, Assistant Director for Facilities and Operations, led his team in total minutes logged, a whopping 40,443 minutes during the challenge! He came in 2nd overall in the department. “I have always been an active person, but this activity enabled me to be held more accountable and steadfast to a set routine which helped set goals and milestones. At the beginning of the challenge, I routinely walked with my family around the neighborhood never going beyond 3.2 miles. Being naturally competitive as well as curiously driven, I turned the regularity of a 3.2 mile walk into


accomplishing an all-time best of 13.7 miles about three-quarters of the way through the Challenge. It’s without a doubt that I gained the motivation and support to continue my physical activity with the help of my family, co-workers, and desire to be a part of a worthy, inspiring, and healthy challenge. Being a part of this initiative as well as serving within a department that promotes and encourages healthy lifestyles and choices, I definitely felt inspired and compelled to do my very best to help serve and support this wonderful initiative.”

Overcoming Obstacles David Knobbe than circle around looking for closer spaces, and did an extra set of push-ups and sit-ups here and there on most days.”

David Knobbe has been the Assistant Director for Outdoor Recreation (ORGT) for the past five years, and he truly believes in the value of a healthy, active lifestyle. David’s journey this past year was truly an eye-opening experience for him. “I encountered an unexpected obstacle during the activity challenge that pushed me to think differently about health and fitness. In spite of living a relatively healthy lifestyle, I was diagnosed with a severe heart valve anomaly and underwent open-heart surgery during the challenge to repair a more-than-likely inherited problem. The good news is that I came through surgery with flying colors, will have no lingering after effects. I logged a total of 15,634 minutes (15th overall). I probably did twice as many minutes during the challenge. Because I was thinking more about my activity levels, I tended to take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the back of parking lots rather


Minutes David Knobbe leading a hike at Sweetwater Creek State Park.


Minutes Tracked During Challenge



(Both Teams)

Team Williams


Reporting Activity in the First Month


Team Dotts

Yearly Average Number of Members that Tracked & Reported



Professional Well-Being: Empowering student staff to lead. Professional Well-Being is something former student employee Jessica Allison knows all too well. During her time at Georgia Tech, Jessica worked for the Campus Recreation Complex in various roles, including: Facility Manager, Challenge Course Facilitator, Building Supervisor, Facility Assistant, and Tech Wreck Camp Counselor. In three short years, Jessica worked her way up to a manager role in the CRC, sharpening a set of lifelong skills she has already carried to her new role at FOCUS. In May 2016, Jessica was the first to receive the Michael W. Edwards Award of Excellence, the CRC’s highest honor for student employees. The award, established in 2016, identifies one student employee above all who “exemplifies notable leadership, excellence in service, and has made a significant impact to the ‘We R CRC’ culture at Georgia Tech’s CRC.” In addition, this award “recognizes trailblazers in the department that go above and beyond the scope of their job to significantly impact the department and campus community.” This is Jessica’s story. “I joined the Facilities student staff as a Facility Assistant and the Tech Wreck staff as a Camp Counselor in May 2013 after my first year of classes at Georgia Tech. I continued working with the Facilities Department as a Facility Assistant, then Building Supervisor, and most extensively as Facility Manager until August 2016, a few months before my graduation. During that time, I also worked with ORGT at the Leadership Challenge Course as a Facilitator and was a member of the 2015 Montana Backpacking Expedition team. I just recently graduated from Tech in December 2016 with a double major in Computer Science and Biology. Throughout my time, I was primarily involved with my work with the CRC and with the Ramblin’ Reck Club. I served as the Editor and Co-Editor of the T-Book and on the Student Publications Board from February 2013 - 2016 and as the 2016 Ramblin’ Reck Club Vice President. I come from a family of Tech grads, and I absolutely love this Institute’s history of empowering


students to become leaders. My favorite Tech traditions are the stories of Sideways the dog and Midnight Bud during finals. My experience at the CRC showed me the incredibly positive influence leaders can have in empowering their employees by supporting them in even the smallest of decisions. From my first days as a Facility Assistant, I always knew that the student and professional staff above me supported me in my work and genuinely wanted to help me grow not just in first aid and inventory tracking skills, but in the lifelong skills of multicultural awareness, conflict management, and team communication and trust. I saw all of these as being directly applicable and relevant to any of our student staff’s future professional goals.

My experience at the CRC showed me the incredibly positive influence leaders can have in empowering their employees by supporting them in even the smallest of decisions.

Jessica Allison receives the inaugural Award of Excellence from Michael Edwards in 2016.

As I was given the opportunities to move into leadership roles within the department, I began to see how this supportive, future-oriented work culture was shaped by the simple, day-to-day decisions of the leadership that were wholly centered on supporting the growth of the staff and adherence to the team’s mission. Knowing that my own learning within the staff had been supported by the leadership gave me the confidence to begin assuming the responsibility for leading and supporting my fellow student staff and implement new policies and changes to further streamline and encourage their growth. This practice in recognizing how others supported me made me more aware of how I influence others as a leader and how genuine progress towards any goal requires sincerity and support at every step along the way. This perspective has shaped how I

view and understand leadership and has given me the confidence to know I can be an impactful team member or leader in all of my future professional experiences. The largest change I realized during my time as a student leader at the CRC was that at the heart of any healthy, well-functioning team is not a set of rules or policies, but a group of confident, empowered people led by a supportive leader willing to work together to achieve a common goal. Coming from a very academic background, I, like many other Georgia Tech students, had the tendency to view progress merely as the addition of resources or rules to achieve a desired outcome. The CRC and the team I encountered there showed me that a true professional leader sees the well-being of the team as a critical part of progress.


The CRC and the team I encountered there showed me that a true professional leader sees the well-being of the team as a critical part of progress.

As a Facility Manager, my role was not just to manage everyone’s schedules and timesheets but to ensure that all of the student staff had the resources, confidence, and support to carry out the responsibilities of the Facilities team while simultaneously growing in their own capacity for future leadership and professional well-being. This growth of my own views of professionalism drove me to pursue a career in consulting and helping others become more efficient problem solvers and leaders themselves. Despite offers in in technical consulting, I accepted a position to work for an organization called FOCUS - the Fellowship of Catholic University Students as a campus missionary to work with college students around the nation in developing their own understanding of healthy, Christ-like, relationship-based leadership and how to bring that to the professional world. My experiences at the CRC have shaped my understanding of leadership in all aspects of my life, and I am so very grateful for having had the opportunity to work with such an incredible and supportive team!� 2016

Facility Manager Building Supervisor


LCC Facilitator

Facility Assistant Camp Counselor


Emotional & Spiritual Well-Being: Cultivating well-being in students. As the current Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs of the Department of Materials Sciences and Engineering (MSE), Dr. Mary Lynn Realff has found ways to cultivate spiritual and emotional well-being in herself as well as the students she interacts with on (and off) campus. A Georgia Tech grad herself (BS, Textile Engineering, 1987), Dr. Realff understands the importance of student involvement on campus, and how experiential learning outside of the classroom can lead to a full, rewarding, and well-rounded life after college. Dr. Realff discusses a snapshot of her experiences with both spiritual and emotional well-being in her role as a faculty guide for CRC’s Tech Trek program with Stamps President Scholars. Here is her story. “I can remember the days of ‘SAC,’ when as a student I engaged in weight lifting class along with my roommate. As a faculty, I had been involved with some exercise classes, but it was not until two and a half years ago that I really became involved and aware of the many facets of the CRC. I was asked to be a faculty guide for the Stamps President Scholars Program and to consider going on a “Tech Trek” with the students. Although I had never backpacked in the wilderness carrying all of the supplies on my back, I had done some hiking and was in “good shape.” I started to “practice hike” to try to build up to the weight that I would have to carry on the actual Trek. I met with the CRC staff who helped me understand the purpose of the Trek and how the Trek could build skills in the students that they would need to be successful at Georgia Tech. They told me about how they believe that experience is not enough, but experience with reflection can lead to true growth. They had developed a “journal” for each trek that they used to lead the reflection at the end of each day. I am a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and have been helping students develop their strengths for over 15 years. I spoke with Matt [Marcus] and David [Knobbe] about enhancing the journal activities with discussions

about the student’s strengths, how they use them to be a good team member, and how they can lead with them. In August 2015, we piloted this with a group of 15 students. We received positive feedback from the students and Trek leaders and, in 2016, we developed a journal for four Tech Treks (42 students + 8 ORGT leaders) that included strengths reflections and discussions that were integrated into the journal. The Tech Trek and journal activities were already exemplary and the inclusion of the strengths activities added a new dimension to them.

STRENGTH FINDERS PILOT Piloted strength finder focused reflection in 2015

15 Students participated in the pilot by journaling daily

Piloted program received positive feedback

Strength finding reflections implented with all orientationtrips in 2016


They told me about how they believe that experience is not enough, but experience with reflection can lead to true growth.


Personally, I have grown through my involvement in ORGT through the Tech Treks. I was able to physically do things that I did not think that I could do. I learned in an outdoor “laboratory” about how to rely on others and how to help others in a setting that I had not previously experienced. I also learned more about how to motive others to push themselves past their comfort zone. The big sky country of Montana was amazing and so were the students that went on that Trek. I was able to see them grow over the 10 day trip and to form bonds with their fellow freshmen students. I feel that this experience set them up for success at Georgia Tech. Since the Tech Trek was the week before classes started, they began their college career with 9 fellow freshmen that they got to know really well, three upper classmen that they could call on for advice, and two Georgia Tech faculty/ staff that they felt comfortable talking to about any questions that they had during their first year. I look forward the further developing the journal activities for the Tech Treks with the ORGT staff.” When asked about the future of infusing strengths into more than just the trips, Dr. Realff discusses new, exciting projects on the horizon. Both projects noted below explore the ideas of both spiritual well-being (purpose, values, service) and emotional well-being (stress management, confidence, and resilience). Read on to learn more about the exciting initiatives Dr. Realff will bring to the CRC in the coming months. “In fall 2016, I received funding to integrate effective team dynamics into the undergraduate curriculum at Georgia Tech. Part of this project addresses the need to train faculty to help students navigate issues in teams that make them ineffective. When we were looking for tools to help faculty, one of the places that we went was to ORGT. Matt and David train their ORGT leaders to handle stressful and difficult situations. With the Treks occurring in wilderness areas, in many cases, the student leaders must be able to handle team problems. The effective team dynamics project will be putting together a tool kit for faculty and two of the tools that will be included are those developed and used by ORGT.

of students, faculty and/or staff at Georgia Tech. This year, I was excited to be able to work with the leadership staff of the CRC. In a two day workshop, the team investigated the strengths of their teammates and discussed how they could work more effectively together to meet the goals of the CRC. Each member of the CRC leadership staff generated an individual development plan that outlined how they could each contribute to the goals of the CRC, while building on and using their strengths. Over the next year, the plan is to revisit their strengths through activities that they will do every other month in their staff meetings. It is inspiring to me to see the CRC staff invest in their strengths. Data has showed that those that are able to use their strengths every day are happier and more productive. While the CRC works towards developing the well-being of students, it is great that they are also increasing their own well-being through activities like these.”

I feel that this experience set them up for success at Georgia Tech.

I have conducted strengths workshops for groups


ON THE HORIZON A sneak peek at the Department of Campus Recreation’s 2017 initiatives:

Inspiring Experiences CRC’s Outdoor Recreation program (ORGT) will tackle some truly inspiring expeditions this year, including treks to South Africa, Croatia, Alaska, Scotland, Iceland, Chile, New Zealand, and mainland USA. These experiences equip our students and trip leaders with crucial transferrable skills that serve them in all future endeavors as great global citizens.


Integrative Collaborations CRC will collaborate with on and off campus partners for integrative well-being programs to include:

Georgia Tech Health & Well-Being Activity Stations and Active Art – A collaboration between the CRC, HWB, and multiple student organizations, the proposal of two activity stations will be introduced to the Georgia Tech Community. These activity stations will provide an environment built for social, physical, and emotional well-being, where the Georgia Tech community can come together to play and interact with each other in an outdoor setting.

Cytilife Pilot program that reduces barriers to healthy lifestyles through an integrative app students can use to see real time data on machine availability in the CRC and determine, based on their personal schedule, the best time to exercise. The app also includes a feature to connect socially by forming groups and finding friends with similar interests in health and fitness.

Georgia Tech Counseling Center Healthy Lifestyles for the Mind and Body – a program geared towards students currently seeking counseling to explore physical, social, and emotional well-being through Healthy Lifestyle Programs at the CRC. Tech Ends Suicide Together (T.E.S.T.) collaborations for awareness and programming.

Innovative Approach U+1=Well-Being Campaign – the CRC’s newest integrative health initiative designed to inspire the entire campus to go to programs, services, and events with their +1 – whether that be a friend, co-worker, or fellow student.


CRC Strategic Impact Report: 2016  

Overview of the Campus Recreation's impact at Georgia Tech during the year 2016.

CRC Strategic Impact Report: 2016  

Overview of the Campus Recreation's impact at Georgia Tech during the year 2016.