After COVID-19: The Future of Campus Recreation

Since the campus recreation centers have closed, programs are rapidly developing online experiences and resources for our members to stay connected before, during and after COVID-19.

The pandemic has demonstrated not only humans’ desire to stay safe, but our desire to feel connected and have fun. An amazing amount of content has been created to keep students engaged. Our staff hopes that we can prevent students from breaking their exercise routine and habits. We want to keep our community mentally and physically healthy as we go through this historic event. It is important that we stay focused on this day, but how should we prepare when we return to campus?

Although it is impossible to fully predict how consumer behavior will change, the positive news for fitness enthusiasts is that old habits do indeed return even after inactivity for some time, as shared in Understanding Today and Tomorrow: A Micro Foundation. These behaviors may be increased but not eliminated. Those with a strong or ingrained exercise routine will get back to them in no time. However, we cannot expect everything to be normal after the reopening of our registration centers.

According to a study by Kelton Global, a strategic advisory agency, Gen Zers feel more influenced by our social status than other age groups, especially in terms of feelings of isolation and mental health. The above article states, “Our findings suggest that COVID-19 could be a watershed moment for Generation Z – like 9/11 or the 2009 recession was for millennials. Millennials, who are still feeling the impact of both, are anticipating another defining event” .

Director of Research Lauren Murphy explains why major life shifts present new opportunities for brands to reach consumers and what that means for brands in the face of the new coronavirus realities in the article, “Consumer Psychology and Coronavirus: Turning New Habits into Opportunities.” She writes: “The pandemic has broken the habits we have relied on and put them in a state of uncertainty. However, this can be seen as an opportunity to break habits and see things that you may not have seen or experienced while resting in our usual daily life.”

We will face challenges and opportunities as our recreation centers reopen after COVID-19. How can we improve a student experience that we might not have thought of before?

Let’s think about what our course might be after the pandemic:

  • Reducing classroom sizes and reorganizing exercise spaces to continue safe social distancing practices.
  • Improving cleaning standards and guarding procedures and developing advanced cleaning materials.
  • Offer special offers, promotions, services or hours to those severely affected by the pandemic.
  • Further development of small accessory items (fitness kits) being sold so that students can work out from home.
  • Explore nature closer to home at a slower pace.
  • Bring more services directly to students.
  • Strengthening our recreational families by focusing on the health and safety of our employees.
  • Increased desire to make friends and meaningful experiences.
  • Decreased participation in youth programs due to family financial difficulties.
  • Continuing development of online resources and virtual classes.
  • Increase partnerships with vendors and application companies.
  • Increased use and development of fitness and meditation applications.
  • Staffing issues due to employees no longer accredited once recreation centers open, such as lifeguards and water safety coaches.
  • Ability to work remotely as employees become familiar with online trainings, project management and conferences.
  • Better prepared for future shutdowns or disruptions in programming.

These are just some of the few possibilities for changes that will come after COVID-19, as collected from various entertainment programmes. The times are uncertain, and how and where we will be several months from now is unknown. Let us remain optimistic but ready for challenges and changes. Let’s anticipate how we can move forward in a way that improves the student experience.

When our campus communities are able to return to the classroom and back to the recreation centers after COVID-19, our professional staff believe that after a short drop in the number of participants, there will soon be a strong desire to jump into the lively atmosphere of our recreation centers and students will be eager to Join the fitness community and explore the opportunities we have to offer again.

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