5 September 2012: Last night’s Third Annual College Olympics at Montclair State University’s Campus Recreation Center was won by the College of Education and Human Services, and was nothing short of—to quote Sasha Baron Cohen from the movie Borat—“A great success!” Entering the Center from the rain and gloom last night, the new freshmen class faced an immediate and stark contrast: a dry lobby, food and beverages, a live disk jockey playing music in the background, and hundreds of other like minds with anticipation in their faces, ready to explore the wide variety of activities awaiting them. The Recreation Center marked its highest attendance for the event to date.
Each College or School at Montclair State University that registered for this year’s College Olympics participated in six different events: volleyball, indoor soccer, extreme dodge ball (it was), boating, cycling (a new event led by Coordinator of Fitness Programs Jared Utterback), and Kinect Sports: a game featured on the Xbox 360 console. The winners of each event were given a score, which was then tallied together with scores from other events in order to find out a winner. Though the main idea seems simple enough, to organize an event as large as the College Olympics is anything but simple.
This is why Montclair State University Recreation Center’s Marketing, Intramural and Club sports decided to implement a few new strategies this year to help expedite the organizational process of the annual event (among others), including an online registration form easily accessible through their website (http://www.montclair.edu/campusrec) and Montclair State University’s main webpage. Carolyn Garrone, Coordinator of Intramural and Club Sports at the Recreation Center had positive things to say as a result of the new implementations: “This year we had a lot of people fill out the pre-registration online…we had about 250 people signed up before the event. Before this year, we didn’t have this ability, so we didn’t know how many people were actually going to show up the day of the event.” The amount of people that signed up and participated this year significantly outnumbered the attendances from last year; for every one person participating in the event, there were 3 to 4 bystanders cheering for them.
On top of the ability to register for events online, the Recreation Center also further organized the tournament itself by designating players from all schools to a particular event. Matt Vecchi, one of three area supervisors at the Recreation Center, commented on the usefulness of this approach: “we tried to avoid overlapping and confusion between teams and games this year by designating teams from each school and having them pick a sport to play.” Andrea Felano, another area supervisor, shared Vecchi’s sentiment and thought the organizing led to less confusion: “There were a lot less forfeits, and more people following through with signing up. Everyone was online, which made it a lot easier for everybody, including us.” When asked what kept the motivation throughout the process of developing and carrying out this year’s plan, Felano commented, “It was the desire and drive from everyone who collaborated to make the event better and improve its popularity from last year.”
Montclair State University’s Campus Recreation Center’s altruistic message is that one of the biggest reasons behind the annual event, as Garrone explains: “Within the first two weeks of school it is important to get the first year students involved and active, so it becomes routine for them. This is our mission to make the first week of school jam packed with activities.” With its highest marked attendance to date, the good word is certainly spreading. When asked what his thoughts were after the event, freshman Patty Gonzalez from the School of Business had this to say: “I thought it was a great way to bring together people that are in our fields and develop connections. It was fun to be competitive and get there with other colleges. By the end we were all friends, shaking hands and making jokes.”
If you are not a freshman on campus this year, do not worry. More fun and exciting events will be held at Montclair State University’s Recreation Center this fall for everyone, so be sure to go onto their website and join!
-Article by Levon Syers