Staff Training: What To Expect

It’s that time of year again! Everyone is trying to soak in the last bit of summer and prepare for their fall semester.

August 26-28, the Recreation Center will be holding mandatory staff training. Typically, training may be seen as a chore – something boring that no one really wants to be at. But I think the Rec Center’s staff training agenda for this year is different. I had the opportunity to sit down with Marie VanBuskirk, Student Employee Development Coordinator, to chat about what’s in store for Rec Center student employees!

Here’s a breakdown of the training schedule:

Day 1: Tuesday August 26 — The Oakland Center

The first day of training focuses on duties and skills pertaining to jobs at the Rec Center. There will be a focus on the Emergency Action Plan. This way, we can provide a safe facility for patrons.

Full time staff and Graduate Assistants will be introduced. We will play icebreakers. This portion of training will be so student employees can put faces to names.

Day one will focus on making sure students know more about the Rec than just their position. VanBuskirk said, “When you’re a part of the Rec, you’re a part of a much bigger picture. You should know all about the Rec and our policies, programs, and amenities.”

Each unit within the department  will be putting together a “Top 5 Things You Should Know About….”. Students will be rotating through 4 presentations so they can learn about the different areas of the Rec in a fun way.

There will be a portion of the day highlighting some new student development initiatives. Students will learn about the seminars they can choose from to attend that will help them develop leadership skills and focus on making them more marketable when they graduate. Attending these seminars will tie into their evaluations.  Students will also learn about MIRSA (Michigan Intramural Recreational Sports Association) and NIRSA (National Intramural Recreational Sports Association) and how they can get involved.  The Recreation Leadership Council will also be making a presentation.

Day 2: Wednesday August 27 — The Oakland Center

The second day will be the first ever student affairs kick off and training event! Employees from the Center for Student Activities, Housing, Career Services, the Recreation Center, and more will be participating.

Glenn McIntosh, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management will be addressing the 400+ student employees, challenging them to learn new ways, create an inviting atmosphere, provide excellent customer service, and handle difficult situations in the best way possible.

VanBuskirk said, “This has never really been done before. This started as a collaboration between Admissions, Housing, and Campus Rec.”

There will be a keynote speaker who will be talking about “Serving OU’s Invisible Students” and making everyone feel welcome.

There will also be five (5) presentations that students can pick from to attend.

1. Active Shooter – Police Chief Gordon

2. Recruitment, Retention, and Collaboration – Becky Lewis

3. Diversity Panel – Students from various departments (Veterans, International, LBGTQ)

4. Safe training

5. Conflict management – Beth Talbert (Communication department)

The second day of training will be very beneficial because it will help get all student employees on the same page when it comes to all the transferrable skills (customer service, conflict management, etc).

Day 3: August 28

The third and final day of training will focus on unit training. Each unit within campus recreation  will have their own training this day.

VanBuskirk’s final thoughts about training? “We want students to realize that this is not just a student employee job. Everybody should realize that there are transferrable skills in every job they have. Knowing a bit about everything at the Rec really shows initiative and that they care about their job. It’s the transferrable skills that will get you the job after graduation.”

I’m really looking forward to training. It sounds like all student employees will get something out of it, even if it’s just that you know how to help patrons get to the basement if there’s a tornado. But honestly, I think the students who want to get something out of training will do just that.

I’ll be writing a follow-up piece after training, so keep your eyes peeled for that.


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