Outdoor recreation allows people to connect with each other and with the world around them. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the outdoors was the only safe place to gather. Today, many campus rec professionals are still looking for creative ways to offer programming or use outdoor spaces to meet student demand.

Traditional outdoor recreation spaces — mostly natural and artificial grass fields — are important to many programs in campus recreation including club sports and intramurals. However, they require a valuable resource not readily available to many campuses: space.

This is an issue that requires creative thinking at the urban campus of Cleveland State University (CSU). By maintaining a positive relationship with the Athletics department and sharing some of these areas, they can serve more students.

“The biggest thing we’ve learned and benefit from is partnering with other departments on campus,” said Mackenzie Lamar, the assistant director of Competitive Sports and Aquatics at CENTERS, LLC @ CSU. “Our relationship with the Athletics department alone has allowed us to offer so much more than we have in past years. This allows us to expand our participation and variety of types of clubs offered, intramural leagues, and a variety of camp activities to keep kids active and engaged.”