How Campus Recreation has adjusted to the ‘new normal’

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TORCH PHOTO / SARA KIERNAN

Despite the adjustments many student services at St. John’s had to make in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Campus Recreation is keeping Johnnies active and engaged in many different ways – via Zoom and WebEx, on the Great Lawn and through Instagram posts. Though the semester is well underway, read on for everything students need to know about Campus Recreation not only this semester, but in the semesters to come. 

 

How has Campus Recreation adjusted to the social distancing guidelines on Queens campus? 

“Unfortunately due to COVID and social distancing guidelines, we have not yet been able to reopen the Fitness Center or Taffner Field House,” Director of Campus Recreation, Shaun Fean, said in an email to the Torch.

Due to this closure, Campus Recreation has gone forth and hosted online events for the student body. These “opportunities for engagement” include virtual fitness classes, tournaments on NBA2K and FIFA, a virtual 5K and fitness challenges through their Instagram page

They’ve also been hosting outdoor fitness classes like yoga, butt & gut and Zumba on the Great Lawn in front of the library. These classes are administered “with spray-painted circles spread six-feet apart on the lawn to ensure social distancing.”

 

How did Campus Recreation adjust to the closing of campus last March? How did campus recreation keep students active during this time? 

Things changed rather quickly back in March, but Campus Recreation adjusted to online fitness classes nearly just as fast. They transferred their in-person fitness classes to online format via WebEx.

“Our Wellness Educator, Dorothy Longworth, started a ‘Workout Wednesday’ series on Instagram,” Fean said, “where she would lead a quick, five to 10 minute workout each Wednesday.”

Student personal trainers also adjusted to this and posted on the Campus Recreation Instagram page every day with new workouts, wellness information and recipes for students to try at home. 

Campus Recreation also got creative with at-home activities by  posting on-demand fitness videos and different challenges on their website, like the ‘Trick Shot Challenge,’ which was meant to encourage students “to creatively take a video of them making their best trick shot.”

 

What does an average day look like for the Campus Recreation staff with these changes? 

“Much of our days are spent meeting with other colleagues on campus and trying to come up with creative ideas to continue to engage our community in a healthy and active way,” Fean said.

Like most organizations on campus, social media has become a significant part of Campus Recreation’s approach to connect with students and keep them active. Through this outlet, they are able to share videos, tips and promote what is going on in the department. 

Campus Recreation staff are also meeting with their colleagues at St. John’s to pitch ideas for keeping students healthy and active in a safe manner.

“I spend a lot of time checking in with other colleagues in campus recreation around the state and the country,” Fean said, “to see how they are dealing with the challenges of the pandemic and how some of their strategies can be applied here at St. John’s.”

 

How might the COVID-19 pandemic affect the future of the fitness center? What types of precautions will the fitness center take when it eventually reopens? 

According to Fean, Campus Recreation is closely evaluating when the Fitness Center will be able to reopen. There must be compliance with health protocols, including social distancing, and reopening will also require a drop in case rates in the community.

“When we do reopen, things will look very different than they did previously,” Fean said. “This will include wearing masks, social distancing, increased cleaning protocols and more.”

 

What resources can students find online through Campus Recreation to help balance an active lifestyle?

Campus Recreation can be found on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Additional information can also be found on their website.

“Both our social media accounts and website include links to register for both our virtual and in-person fitness class offerings as well our Esports tournaments,” Fean wrote. 

Through all of these online outlets, students can find the links to on-demand fitness videos as well as past ones from the fitness instructors.

 

Campus Recreation is keeping the University’s students active and engaged in activities, whether they are living at home or on campus. With colder months approaching it is unknown if their outdoor fitness classes will continue, but the online sources remain for students to access and utilize as they wish.