Intramurals revamped to increase participation

Intramural sports and activities offered through Hastings College have undergone various structural changes after recognition that the YMCA’s multiple week-long leagues didn’t work for students’ busy schedules, resulting in low participation. Steven Dunham, community living coordinator, was named as the intramural coordinator to head up these events.

Dunham graduated from HC in 2018 with a master’s degree in physical education. One of his main interests during his college career was sports and recreation. Dunham believes “advocating for fitness and health is a great thing as well as advocating for having fun while you’re doing fitness and health.” This belief, as well as his educational background, has given Dunham a foundation to coordinate and revamp the intramural programs this year. 

In previous years, students would have to find a team of seven to 10 people and sign up for an intramural league that would run for several weeks. However, this year Dunham is changing that process to better suit the needs of students. He recognizes that student’s schedules are hectic and constantly changing; therefore, students may not be able to consistently attend traditional intramural leagues. Instead, Dunham has introduced the concept of pick-up games and activities students could attend. The classes and games are designed for students to show up and join whenever it fits into their schedule. 

Some of these classes have already started, such as Yoga Mondays with Matti Dabovich on the Daugherty Center patio, personal training with Travis Agagah, and CrossFit Sundays with Dunham himself. Cole Fisher facilitates alternating pick-up games of volleyball and basketball every Thursday night on the Altman lawn and court. The hope of these pick-up games is for others to meet new people so that in the future, they have more friends to make teams and eventually go back to the leagues. 

According to Dunham, the turn-out for intramurals has been good so far. He has about five to eight students who attend his CrossFit class, which allows Dunham to focus on each student individually. Yoga has had a huge increase in students, leaping from about five students in its first week to about 20 students. Pick-up volleyball has around 10 people show up for games.

Besides basketball, CrossFit, volleyball, yoga and other traditional intramural events, Dunham hopes to incorporate other activities for students. This year, bed races will no longer be a Greek Life-only event and will run through intramurals. Dunham, along with Sophomore Henry Grant, is working on building a gaming community on campus, which will lead to video game tournaments in the near future. Grant hopes to kick off the league with a Super Smash Bros. tournament. Dunham already added a tetherball to campus, which he made himself and placed on the basketball court. Dunham also hopes to add other school-yard games to campus such as a gaga pit, ultimate frisbee and other non-mainstream sports events. Dunham would also like to have a faculty and staff versus students flag football Turkey Bowl game at the stadium. He hopes these kinds of activities will foster a community between faculty, staff and students. 

“I’m getting these ideas because I asked students what they want,” said Dunham. 

Dunham views his job as more of a facilitator for students. He aims to base intramurals on the feedback from students about what events they want to participate in. According to Dunham, intramurals are important for community-building because (students) aren’t often put on a team with people they know.

The sign-up process for intramurals has also changed this year. Dunham introduced the Pastime Sports app, which was created by basketball alum Brandon Krause ‘15, a pick-up game app that allows people to see fitness events/classes happening in the area and register for the events/classes. Students are encouraged to sign up prior to events, however students can just show up. Students will receive emails for all upcoming 
intramural events.