Its silver anniversary may have passed, but Augustana Rec Services’ aim to create events that appeal to Augustana’s entire student body continues.
The old standbys still exist (basketball, volleyball, flag football etc.), but some less-traditional activities like archery tournaments and “spike ball” (a game reminiscent of four square that uses a small trampoline in place of the square) have augmented the Elmen’s already beefy schedule of events.
Chad Barman, head of the Augustana Intramural Program, said intramural participation spiked last year, and that trend has continued so far this year. All-terrain volleyball, considered the first athletic tournament on the intramural schedule, saw 22 of 26 Viking Voyage (welcome week) teams compete and only one forfeit a match.
Students are also flocking to late-night events more than ever. Barman estimated late-nights averaged 75 participants when he arrived as an undergrad in 2009. Last year, that number nearly doubled, and this year’s first two events (matball and laser tag) saw over 200 students apiece. Barman attributes this success to the event planners.
“Late night is really student planned, run and executed,” Barman said. “It’s their deal.”
Events were previously organized by a single coordinator, but the Elmen’s student workers now spearhead the effort.
That effort is paying off, according to freshmen Ben Konold and Ted Urch.
“The racquetball’s a blast, and the wallyball’s a blast,” Konold said. “They always have a large variety of stuff to do, which is fun. If you don’t want to do laser tag, you can still play other games.”
“It helps keep the freshman 15 off,” Urch said.
Late-night and athletic events aside, Rec Services also offers 19 fitness classes throughout the year. Every day, one class or another will be going on, so there are ample opportunities to stay fit on campus.
Zumba fitness continues to satisfy high numbers of participants after its popular inaugural year, and yoga also has many practitioners.
“People really like yoga,” Barman said. “You get a different crowd with yoga … but some football guys go to yoga in their offseason.”
Sophomore Alex Sachtjen has participated in hardcore abs and hydrofit, two fitness classes offered by Rec Services, and enjoys both for different reasons.
“Following the hardcore workout, you better not have the urge to laugh, cough or sneeze, because there will be pain,” he said. “Hydrofit isn’t too hard, but it’s fun.”
Sachtjen also worked as a referee for intramural basketball leagues last year, and said the competitive nature of the events can mar an employee’s enjoyment of them.
“Reffing is a lot of work with training and everything, but very little reward comes out of reffing at the Elmen,” Sachtjen said. “You’re criticized 24/7, both by the staff that is in charge of you along with the players that are participating in the activities.”
Barman said the goal of the Rec Services staff is to organize activities for everyone—not just athletes.
“We try really hard to cater to the people who aren’t necessarily looking to play basketball,” Barman said.
“They [late-night coordinators] always have a large variety of stuff to do … If you don’t want to do laser tag, you can still play other games.”