From the perspective of Shomari Kee
The Coronavirus has had a significant impact on Campus Recreation at NKU. The greatest of which was the decision to close the Campus Recreation Center at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18. The initial plan was to close until today. However, the university closed all on-campus events through June 30 which renders the CRC and all Campus Rec facilities closed indefinitely. While the decision to close all Campus Rec facilities was immediate, the department chose not to discontinue programming.
With the help of our outstanding group fitness instructors, we have been able to provide weekday virtual fitness classes via Zoom to ensure the NKU community and CRC members have an outlet to exercise during the stay-at-home order. In addition to the weekday classes, utilizing the department’s YouTube channel, there are archived workouts for the community and members to use at their leisure. The Run/Walk Challenge is another program that is provided where there are weekly goals to beginning with a 5K and progressing through a full marathon (26 miles).
The Competitive Sports program has provided e-sports tournaments for both NKU students and non-students to participate in various video games over multiple platforms allowing the community to make suggestions for other games. While we recognize the popularity of first (and third) person shooter games like Fortnite and Call of Duty, we do not believe those games to be in congruence with the university’s or the department’s values therefore we have not provided that genre for the e-sports tournaments. Virtual programming can be found by going to: https://inside.nku.edu/campusrec/schedules/fitness.html.
Campus Recreation is proudly designated as one of the largest employers of students on campus. We were grateful the university made the decision to continue paying student employees for the duration of the Spring semester as many rely upon their income from working for Campus Rec. However, we have seen that many students have faced hardship from the loss of the ability to make more money through special events which were canceled due to COVID-19. In addition to the loss of income, some students are struggling learning how to cope in quarantine while not able to enjoy the camaraderie of their coworkers and relationships with Campus Rec professional staff.
Those students rely upon those relationships to navigate their NKU experience both personally and academically which this pandemic has had a significant impact on. The number of international student workers in Campus Recreation has grown over the last couple semesters and many of them faced the unique challenge of not having the ability to go “home” to their parents. Instead they remained in on campus housing until they could make arrangements to go to their respective countries.
While all university student employees were paid through the Spring semester, there is a very real likelihood that this will not continue beyond Friday, May 8 when the semester ends. Because the CRC is closed indefinitely, Campus Recreation will not be able to employ over 100 students which will have a significant impact on those students.
As the President’s email yesterday states, there will be a deficit in the budget going forward which could impact Campus Recreation’s ability to provide as many student employment opportunities, programming, and services. While we wait to see the impact of those budgetary decisions, the Campus Recreation staff is maintaining their planning and will be flexible to adjust those plans once final budget decisions are made.
While this pandemic has been difficult to manage, the department and our student employees have been excellent at navigating the crisis given the ever-changing protocols and decisions. The re-opening of the CRC will be dependent upon several factors including local and state regulations. However, when the decision is made the department will be diligent to provide a safe and healthy environment for the NKU community and CRC members