Rec department implementing changes due to COVID-19

Jana Morning, Campus Carrier staff writer

Along with renting sports equipment from the
Cage, students are now able to rent outdoor recreation
equipment from Richards Gym, including basketballs,
volleyballs, pickelball paddles and more. Taylor Corley
| Campus Carrier

Although competitive play for fall sports has been suspended, the Berry Intramural and Recreation Departments are taking the necessary precautions in order to continue to provide a variety of different competitive and leisure activities for students, faculty, and staff. 

For intramurals, no indoor sports will be offered to allow players to follow social distancing guidelines. Intramurals will be offering some similar or altered competition of those played in past years, including sand volleyball, pickleball, tennis, soccer tennis, spikeball, and disk golf. 

“We didn’t want to do anything inside”, said Matt Mixer, Intramural Coordinator for Recreation. “We looked at it like how can we evolve the sports we already have equipment for in a way that they’re COVID-friendly.” 

The Intramural Department plans to have a slow-opening and take strict precautions to start, but have high hopes to be able to relax the guidelines and eventually offer indoor competition. Student workers and staff aim to keep everyone as safe as possible by regularly sanitizing equipment and requiring face masks during game play. 

“I’m just happy we can still do something”, said Mack McCullough, Level Five Equipment Procurement for the Intramural Department said. “I’m hoping that people take the precautions that we take, as far as people have to wear masks when they’re out there. I know the precautions are getting annoying, and I just hope people are very patient with us as we try to enforce those.” 

Despite the change, the Intramural Department is encouraging students to continue to come out and support their classmates during intramural events this fall. 

“Our entire goal has been to provide opportunities to build community through recreation. We want it to be fun, we still want spectators to come out—we’re going to have protocols for that. We still want it to be an event, not just a thing where just the people playing show up”, Mixer said. 

Outdoor Recreation is taking similar measures in order to continue to serve students despite COVID-related restrictions. 

“Obviously safety is a top priority, and how we can best serve our students”, said Michael McElveen, Assistant Dean of Student Wellness. “ We’re constantly talking about how we can offer creative programs, take advantage of our campus, and take advantage of the local community that awe can use and do it safely.” 

Students will be required to preregister for timeslots for different activities in order to avoid large group gatherings. There will also be no sharing of equipment, which includes the use of two-man kayaks, BOLD harnesses, and tent use. 

“Any equipment that’s harder to clean— that’s [made of fabric], will be out of cycle for a period of time until we can clean it. And of course, with all our programs face coverings are required and we’ll continue to promote distancing”, said McElveen. 

In addition to the Cage rental gear, during the week, students also have the option to rent outdoor recreation equipment from Richards Gym. Sand volleyball, outdoor basketball, pickleball, and more, will all be available to rent. 

The Outdoor Recreation and Intramural Department are always looking for more ways to accommodate to student wants and needs, and are open to new ideas offered by students. 

“If there’s any other ideas that students have that we aren’t already offering, we’re always open to it. If there’s something creative we haven’t thought of that we could do, we’re constantly trying to brainstorm and think of things students want to do—we’re open to ideas”, said McElveen. 

For a full list of outdoor recreation activities and intramural sports being offered this fall or other additional info, check out the Berry College Recreation and Intramurals page.

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