The Strategic Value of CENTERS' POSS Committee 

Marshal Rec employees pose with Roku TV during promotional campaignNavigating the rapidly changing landscape of Campus Center management requires innovative strategies that unite collective wisdom and resources from diverse experiences. CENTERS champions this approach through our Program of Systems and Standards (POSS) committees, an essential component of our Program of Innovation and a hallmark of our guiding philosophy that “Better is Better.” 

Sharing Best Practices and Data-Driven Insights 

POSS committees regularly examine business practices across CENTERS-managed sites. They cover areas from risk management and sports programming to data analytics, student learning, membership, and marketing, reflecting a unique CENTERS approach to sharing best practices and ensuring ongoing innovation.  

CENTERS site leaders are charged with maximizing institutional outcomes and for many universities generating speculative revenue through membership sales is a critical budget target. With a shared goal of maximizing revenue through memberships, the Membership POSS committee acts as a collaborative think tank providing key support across CENTERS managed sites for the following: 

Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration: The committee acts as a hub for knowledge exchange and collaboration, facilitating the sharing of best practices, emerging trends, and proven strategies.  

Problem Solving and Innovation: It also serves as a forum for problem-solving and ideation. Members leverage their diverse perspectives and experiences to generate creative solutions when confronted with challenges or opportunities, fostering a spirit of collaborative problem-solving. 

Strategic Planning and Implementation: The committee plays a crucial role in strategic planning and implementation. Through evaluating past promotions, analyzing market trends, and forecasting future opportunities, the committee guides informed decision-making and strategic action, ensuring promotions are not only well-timed but also aligned with broader organizational objectives. 

Continuous Evaluation and Improvement: By tracking key performance metrics, gathering feedback from stakeholders, and conducting post-mortem analyses, the committee iteratively refines its approach, fine-tuning strategies for maximum impact and effectiveness. 


Case Studies in Strategic Timing and Membership Campaigns

Understanding the Essence of Strategic Timing 

With the goal of maximizing promotional effectiveness in mind, the Membership POSS committee engaged in a robust review and discussion of the best membership promotions of the post-COVID era.  Quickly some key characteristics of successful promotions became obvious.   

The best promotions hinged on the strategic synchronization of opportune moments with engaging campaigns. The committee found that a great promotional campaign, meticulously planned and timed just right yielded exponential results when it amplified market trends to drive both membership growth and sustained engagement. Conversely, a well-intentioned promotion executed at the wrong time fell short of expectations, resulting in underwhelming outcomes. At the heart of this delicate balance lies the imperative of timing. 

Timing is not merely about selecting dates on a calendar; it encompasses a nuanced understanding of market dynamics, consumer behavior patterns, and seasonal trends. By aligning promotions with moments of heightened consumer interest, Recreation and Wellness Centers can capitalize on existing momentum, amplifying the impact of their initiatives. 

Consider, for instance, the significance of the New Year—a time synonymous with fresh beginnings and renewed commitments to health and wellness. Leveraging this collective mindset, wellness facilities often witness a surge in demand for memberships and fitness programs, presenting a ripe opportunity for targeted promotions aimed at tapping into this wave of enthusiasm. 

Similarly, seasonal transitions, holidays, and milestone events offer strategic windows of opportunity for promoting wellness initiatives. Whether it’s a Thanksgiving-themed membership promotion or a Super Bowl-inspired fitness challenge, the key lies in crafting promotions that resonate with the prevailing sentiments and aspirations of the target audience. 


In each of these case studies, the common thread is strategic timing—a deliberate effort to align promotions with moments of heightened consumer interest, seasonal trends, or cultural milestones. By leveraging the power of timing, Recreation Centers can maximize the impact of their wellness promotions, driving revenue growth, and enhancing member engagement.

New Year, New Commitment at CSU Rec

CSR REC Membership promotional social media post

In January 2024, Cleveland State University witnessed remarkable success with its “New Year, New Commitment” membership promotion. The promotion paired a generous 50% off discount with a membership commitment and added urgency by running for a limited time.  By running the promotion in January, a time of heightened resolution-making, the university capitalized on the New Year’s momentum resulting in a substantial year-over-year revenue increase of 28%.

Marshall The Rec’s Thanksgiving Membership Promotion

Marshall Recreation promo piece for memberships.Marshall University’s Thanksgiving-themed membership promotion, held during Black Friday, proved to be a resounding success. By tapping into the spirit of celebration surrounding Thanksgiving and the hype around Black Friday deals, Marshall University attracted a sizable number of new memberships, generating significant revenue and bolstered member engagement. The innovative promotion featured a strong, limited time promotional offer, coupled with a Roku TV giveaway contest to boost response. 

Jax State URec Annual Membership Promotion

JA State social media promotionJax State’s annual membership promotion, strategically timed to coincide with the beginning of the year, offers patrons an enticing incentive to commit to long-term wellness goals. Additionally, URec segmented its members (e.g. student, alumni, coaches, faculty) and targeted its promotional messaging to meet the needs of specific audiences, amplifying the power of the generous promotional offer and the perfect January timing of the campaign. By stacking these promotional elements, Jax State incentivized patrons to make a proactive investment in their health and well-being, resulting in revenue growth year-over-year of 186%.

Moraine Valley’s Innovative “12 Days of FitRec” Promotion

Promotional flyer for 12 days of FitRec at MVCC

Held for 12 consecutive days in December, FitRec merged various health & wellness components with the festive ambiance of the holiday season. The initiative aimed not only to promote the facility but also to offer members and guests enticing discounts and informative sessions to boost engagement. Each day revolved around a specific theme, ranging from nutrition coaching to spin classes, accompanied by exclusive discounts, prizes, or promotional items. Throughout the 12-day promotion, Health Services offered a 10 percent discount, resulting in impressive sales, including nearly $10,000 in personal training sessions, surpassing the previous record in 2022.  Among the standout days were Personal Training Day and Nutrition Pop-Up Day, which garnered significant participation and revenue.  

The FitRec team plans to execute this successful promotion again and is currently evaluating the December calendar during this busy time of year on campus. For example, a $5 Guest Pass Day, held on a Friday close to Christmas, saw limited effectiveness with only 22 passes sold, indicating a need for reconsideration regarding timing and scheduling for maximum impact. 

Moraine Valley FitRec Super Bowl Squares Maximize Engagement

Moraine Valley’s Super Bowl Squares promotion, a perennial favorite among members, offers a fun and interactive way to engage with the FitRec community. By leveraging the excitement surrounding the Super Bowl, this engaging event, known for its simplicity and popularity, attracts existing members year after year. Staff encourage members to select squares tied to their unique IDs on two expansive 100-square boards adorned with Super Bowl team logos, which are then displayed in the lobby and on social media, building excitement for the game. Following the game, winners are determined based on scores, with rewards including complimentary guest passes, Perkville Rewards points, or facility gift cards—all of which are inexpensive in-house offerings that encourage repeat visits, keeping this a cost effective and engaging promotion. Now in its fifth year, this promotion consistently draws over 200 members, reinforcing the sense of community within FitRec.

About the Authors

Lamont Mayer joined CENTERs in 2021 during the pivotal period of COVID reopening. As businesses across the nation sought to adapt to the new normal, Lamont leveraged his diverse professional background to make a significant impact in the field of University Recreation. His extensive experience in merchandise marketing, training coordination, and account management, coupled with his roles as a husband, father of three, and community leader, equipped him with a unique skill set. These attributes have been instrumental in his contributions to the Jax State Pro Staff Team, where he has played a key role in fostering a dynamic culture and expanding the brand of Jax State University Recreation. 



Julie Ray joined the CENTERS Central Office in 2018 as the Manager of Systems and Operations. She has been leading and providing support to the company in the worlds of system, membership, and operations.  Prior to joining the Central Office, she led the opening of CENTERS at Moraine Valley Community College’s Health, Fitness and Recreation Center as the Senior Assistant Director of Marketing and Membership and worked there for five years bringing in over 5,000 members. She has worked in the Campus Recreation field since 2009.