Recreational Services set objectives in hope of increasing student participation

Recreational Services surpassing Late Night participation goals


Augustana’s Recreational Services department set a goal to increase its outreach and attract more students to Late Night events. Those initiatives have paid off thus far.

mark-hecht Recreational Services sets objectives at the end of every school year with the hope of increasing student participation in Elmen Center events, according to Mark Hecht, director of Recreational Services.

This year, he and his staff wanted to increase both average and minimum student participation.

The department set a goal of 230 students participating in Late Night events on average, hoping that no event would have fewer than 135, Hecht said. As of mid-November, an average of 325 students have participated in the Elmen Center’s Late Night events. At least 176 people have attended each event, with roller skating being the lowest-attended event thus far.

Hecht credits the success to the Elmen Center’s hardworking staff.

One way that the Rec. Services has increased participation is by encouraging student feedback, by surveying and going door-to-door in the dorms.

There are 138 student staff members at the Elmen, all trained to follow three core values: enthusiastic attitudes, servant hearts and “creating wow experiences,” according to Dennisse Alcivar, who works at the Elmen Center.

“Elmen employees aim to be enthusiastic and have servant hearts, which means always being open to serve whoever visits the Elmen,” Alcivar said. “By combining those two values we can create ‘wow experiences’ for students, experiences that let them know we value their participation and will make them want to visit us again.”

Rec. Services staff members say students who participate in Elmen Center events benefit in other areas of their life, like having a fun substitute for a workout or helping people make new friends.

“Something very important in a student’s college experience is making connections,” Elmen Center worker Darwin Garcia said. “You won’t speak only to your [friends at Elmen events]. You can meet new people.”

darwin-garciaElmen officials seek to empower student staff members, Hecht said. Student staff members are encouraged and expected to plan events and voice opinions on how they believe the events should be organized.

“Our events are carefully planned weeks in advance,” Alcivar said. “We take our time checking every detail of the event to make sure that the students have a great experience. We want them to go back home with a smile on their faces, and we want them to leave thinking about when they’ll be coming back.”

Time will tell if Recreational Services will ultimately achieve its goal this year, but the department seems to be well on its way.

“Rec Services has played an important part in my Augie experience, and if you give it a chance I know it can do the same for you,” Garcia said.

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