Starting healthy habits

Rachel Huck

As the school year rolls into motion, Grand Valley State University’s Campus Recreation invites students to attend the fifth annual RecFest, an event that aims to expose students to the array of opportunities that GVSU’s Campus Rec has to offer.

“It is important for students, specifically first-year students, to familiarize themselves with programs and services offered,” said Mackenzie Lucius, a graduate assistant with Campus Recreation.

RecFest will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Kelly Family Sports Center turf building, and is free to students with their GVSU student IDs.

RecFest reaches more students each year, attracting 2,500 attendees last year. This year’s bash will feature live recreational events including free bike tune-ups, batting cages, group exercise classes, outdoor games, a dodgeball tournament, soccer penalty kicks with Louie the Laker and more.

“It is crucial to reach incoming freshmen early to make them aware of program offerings and ensure they get off to a healthy start,” said Eric Garvelink, assistant director for Campus Recreation.

There are a number of studies showing that students who participate in Campus Recreation programs and services tend to have higher GPAs than those who do not.

“There are many studies that also show students who participate in recreation have higher leadership efficacy and transferable life skills that will benefit them long after their time in college,” Garvelink said. “We want to help develop healthy students and leaders on campus.”

Active engagement with the campus community has been proven to benefit students in a plethora of ways. Garvelink said he hopes the students who participate in the programs and activities are able to develop leadership qualities and skills such as communication, teamwork, decision-making, conflict management and time management.

“The mental, physical and social benefits of Campus Recreation are all excellent reasons to get involved with (it),” Lucius said. “Engaging in Campus Recreation programs and services can improve time management skills, reduce stress and help develop communication skills. Campus Recreation is also a great way to meet new friends and develop new relationships.”

Campus Recreation offers a number of free programs that students can utilize throughout the academic year.

“Our programs provide students with an outlet outside of the classroom that can have a tremendous positive impact on their social lives, self-confidence, health, academics and future career paths,” Garvelink said. “RecFest is a way for us to showcase all of (those programs) in one event.”

The event aims to make new and returning students feel comfortable and included with all that Campus Recreation has to offer, whatever their individual skills and interests may be.

“There are so many options for our students to choose from,” Garvelink said. “The variety of programs that students can get involved in is one of the great things about the Campus Recreation department.”

Vendors at Rec Fest will have the opportunity to provide informational fliers and brochures, coupons, giveaways or samples to attending students.

“Attendees can expect an energetic, fun and inclusive atmosphere at RecFest,” Garvelink said.