Recreation Therapy Open House connects student to program and field


GVL / Sydney Lim

Jonathan Carroll, Staff Writer

The Recreational Therapy Program at Grand Valley State University held an open house at GVSU’s Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall in Grand Rapids.

For the past five years, The Recreational Therapy Open House has aimed to not only bring attention to the Recreation Therapy program at GVSU, but show what recreational therapy is and what it means to work in the field.

There was a multitude of activities for participants to try that demonstrated many parts of recreational therapy. One activity was a game based on the board game Hungry Hungry Hippos, where one player laid down while other players dragged them to collect balls. This activity is meant to help with coordination in a fun and creative way.

Another activity was coloring, in which participants would color in a picture of a jar to depict the levels of emotions they are feeling. The practice promotes mindfulness and aims to help heal the mind and body. 

Additionally, there were snacks, pizza and t-shirts for purchase to support and promote the program.

In the years before COVID-19, there were more students involved in the Recreational Therapy Student Association. However, the shift to online learning made outreach events more difficult to put on, leading to lower student participation. 

GVSU Recreational Therapy Student Association President Kathryn Thornton said the event allowed the organization to reach out to more people. 

“We want to bring in as many people as we can,” Thornton said. “From brand-new freshmen to people that are already a part of the Allied Health Science major, we want people to see and understand what it is to be in recreational therapy.”

Thornton said the event allowed students to interact with their possible classmates and be able to make friends in the field. 

Jason Schmitt, a freshman at GVSU and prospective Allied Health Science major, said he enjoyed the open house event. 

“It was just really nice to see what I would be doing in this major and to be able to interact with some of the people that would be in my classes and make some friends,” Schmitt said.