The View from the Mountaintop | Day in the Life of a TSC Assistant Coordinator

In early March, I was given the opportunity by the Athletics and Recreation Department to attend the National Intramurals and Recreation Association (NIRSA) annual conference in Denver, Colorado, as a student representative of UBC Thunderbirds Sport Clubs.
For some quick context, my name is Curtis Chan. I’ve spent the last two years of my undergrad working at UBC Recreation (REC) in various capacities, most recently, as an Assistant Coordinator for the Sport Clubs office. I began my time in REC as a member of the Front Desk Operations Staff in April 2016 where I quickly fell in love with the department’s environment. From my co-workers at the front desk to the Birdcoop floor staff, and to the student volunteers at Intramurals, REC provided a second home for me on campus. Wanting to experience a different side of REC – in addition to gaining work experience – I joined the UBC Thunderbirds Sport Clubs (TSC) Office in August of 2017. During my time in TSC, I developed an interest specifically in competitive club sports but was unsure what kind of prospects existed for such a career. I found answers at NIRSA.

“helped me realize that my passion in collegiate recreation can be developed into a long and fulfilling career.”

Held this year in downtown Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, NIRSA conference provided an incredible eye-opening look into the field of collegiate recreation. In what can only be described as a whirlwind of a weekend, my daily routine typically consisted of attending presentations given by the experts of other universities on topics that encompassed all aspects of collegiate recreation. In the evenings, I attended networking socials hosted for the conference attendees by the sponsors of NIRSA.
As my primary objective at the conference was to absorb information about anything Sport Clubs related, most of the presentations I attended were about the recent developments within North American Collegiate Competitive Club Sports programs. Covering the topics of sport clubs media presence, alumni engagement, and student leadership workshops, I left NIRSA full of ideas and knowledge that I hope to help implement into our own Sport Clubs program.

As an undergraduate student, I benefited from the numerous resources that the conference provided to student representatives. A specific highlight of my week was the “Take a Student to Lunch” event in which the full-time professionals of other universities treated the student representatives for lunch. I was fortunate enough to be taken out by the entire University of California, San Diego Sport Clubs department, whose brains I got to pick at for a good hour (I was so busy talking I ended up not finishing my food). At NIRSA, there was also a Career Services Center for undergraduate/freshly graduated students where resume reviews, mock interviews, and job posting services were provided. It was here that I truly saw that the field of collegiate recreation was huge outside of what I had known at UBC.
The main theme of the conference was “Elevate Your Path”, a message that was repeated throughout the week (as well as appropriate of our rocky mountain surroundings). NIRSA served as a opportunity to meet and collaborate with fellow professionals to bolster Recreation across campuses throughout North America. The conference buzzed with a feeling a enthusiasm and excitement which confirmed to me that, similar to the staff at UBC Recreation, the individuals who have dedicated their careers to collegiate recreation and student development are indeed some of the most caring, dedicated, and selfless people I will ever have the pleasure of working with.
Among the staff at UBC REC, I would like to specifically thank Michael Tan (Director of Intramurals & Recreation), Olivia Yung (Sport Clubs Coordinator), Taira Jolie (Associate Director, Operations), and Aaron Miu (Manager, Marketing & Communications) for all their support of my experience at NIRSA which has helped me realize that my passion in collegiate recreation can be developed into a long and fulfilling career.