From 2015 to 2021, Mississippi State University’s (MSU) campus grew by over 10% and total enrollment expanded every year during that span. As the school saw continuous growth, the programming opportunities and revenue strategies within University Recreation also evolved.
Now, facility reservations and memberships account for most of the department’s revenue. Such offerings include party and tournament reservations, personal training, intramural play passes, towel rentals, and more.
“While our department provides staff and community opportunities, we have to remain focused on providing priority-based programming for students to ensure optimal health and well-being,” said Jason Townsend, the associate director of MSU Recreation. “With only one rec center on campus and enrollment continuing to trend upward, space is of the essence. We must be very strategic in our planning to make sure our programming is inclusive for the entire student population.”
One successful revenue strategy was the implementation of a play pass for intramurals. John McNeal, the assistant director for Competitive Sports at MSU, said it offered students a one-time, all-access pass to play unlimited sports rather than paying so many individualized fees. “It really enhanced the sign-up process and made things easier for us and our students as well,” said McNeal.
Improving member experience is also a point of focus for Campus Recreation at the University of New Haven (UNH). The department offers affordable memberships with competitive pricing for alumni.
Marissa Vittorio, the assistant director of Campus Recreation Intramural Sports for CENTERS, LLC at UNH, said the variety of membership offerings and services help set the school apart from other universities.
“We are working to enhance the experience of our current members by offering guest passes so friends and family can experience the Rec Center with them,” said Vittorio. “Additionally, our members can join intramural leagues, which is a unique membership benefit that helps integrate members into the community.”
To assist in tracking participation and communicating with members and guests, Vittorio said they use Rec Automation as their management platform. But regardless of how successful the program is, the main objective for UNH Campus Recreation is rebuilding after the losses sustained by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While revenue generation is important in enhancing and improving our programs and facilities, we’re fortunate it’s not the primary objective of our operating paradigm,” said Jessica Scibek, the director of Campus Recreation for CENTERS, LLC at UNH. “We are welcoming back any faculty and staff members who were off campus and are now slowly returning to the office and a ‘normal’ routine. We are also strengthening and extending our relationship with students by offering alumni access.”