Integrating Wellness Programming into Campus Recreation Services

Rebranding Recreation Services to Promote Holistic Wellness and Meet Student Demand

Topics: Student Affairs, Student Health and Wellness

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Recreation service units increasingly prioritize wellness-focused programming to rebrand their unit as a contributor to student well-being across campus, to engage students, and to advocate their community impact.

This research brief explores how large public institutions navigate this rebranding process, communicate programmatic shifts, and highlight wellness initiatives. In particular, it identifies multiple opportunities for cross-unit and cross-department collaboration between recreation service and other campus units.

  • Key observations from our research

    1. Institutions rebrand the focus of recreation services to demonstrate ongoing contributions to campus wellness to students, campus administrators, and funders who never fully recognized them, rather than to signal a substantive shift in approach.
    2. Profiled institutions include faculty and staff in wellness programming to offset student expenses and establish a campus-wide program portfolio.
    3. Program managers administer online surveys, pre- and post-class evaluations, and measure student, faculty, and staff attendance to assess wellness programing.