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04/24/2014

USciences Promotes Social Responsibility through Campus Recreation

Femi 1Striving to further engage University of the Sciences students with the local community, the University renamed its Department of Fitness and Wellness to the Department of Campus Recreation (DCR) in 2007. As leaders of the facility, Marc Caserio and Jesse Phillips envisioned a plan that would make the DCR more than just recreation. In addition to aligning DCR’s mission and vision with the institution’s goals, they incorporated their own educational beliefs and values that helped structure campus events which have collectively raised more than $54,000 for nonprofit organizations over the past eight years.

According to Danielle Hoguet DPT’16, a student recreation building manager, campus recreation has provided her with countless volunteer opportunities that allowed her to be a part of the entire fundraising and community service process from start to finish. These experiences, she said, will benefit her throughout her professional and personal endeavors.

“Together we plan, design, and market events to build excitement within the campus community and invite people to join us,” said Hoguet. “It’s so much more rewarding that way because not only are we making a difference for people in need, but we’re also facilitating growth within our school and bringing everyone together for a greater cause.”

It is vital for higher education professionals to promote cultural awareness. University of the Sciences is a culturally diverse campus, made up of individuals of various religions, sexual orientations, and ethnic backgrounds who interact together and enjoy each other’s company.  These interactions provide students with the opportunity to gain an appreciation for the diverse cultures that exist on campus. 

One strategy the DCR implemented to best promote social responsibility, equality, and diversity is empowering students to design and implement community service projects. This objective has been an effective tool in cultivating students’ leadership skills.  The community events have been, and will continue to be, student organized and managed with the professional staff of DCR serving as advisors and mentors. The intention of establishing community service initiatives was not only to increase awareness and generate funds for charitable organizations, but also to bring the campus community together in a positive and entertaining environment to improve student engagement and retention. 

“I never thought that working at the campus recreation center could have made such an impact on my life but it has been one of the most significant moments of my college experience thus far,” said Princy John PharmD’ 16, a student recreation building manager.

Three of DCR’s more popular events – the Femi Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, Pink-a-Thon, and USciences Got Talent – have raised thousands of dollars for Philadelphia-area nonprofit organizations, such as the Linda Creed Foundation, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, SciNet USA, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, KIPP West Philadelphia, Goal4theGold Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Big Brother Big Sister, and the Wounded Warrior Project. These events incorporate student engagement and community service by allowing students to plan events and reach out to their peers, as they know their audience best.
     
Providing an effective and efficient recreational program is vital to student engagement and retention. The activities offer students a chance to relieve stress from the trials and tribulations of the rigorous academic workload in a positive environment. However, designing a recreational program that incorporates community service activities also allows our campus to provide an educational value to the University community, especially by promoting social responsibility.

"Giving back to the community is more than the act itself; it’s about that indescribable feeling of satisfaction you get at the end of the day knowing that you made a difference, regardless if it was big or small,” said Daphne Torre PharmD’14, a former student recreation building manager.

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