Not only is UREC one of the most popular facilities on campus, it is also one of the highest student employers. UREC’s team includes over 500 student staff and offers internship and practicum opportunities to students. Built in 1996, UREC has grown tremendously in size and bandwidth. From an extensive fitness and aquatic center to cooking classes and rock walls – there is something for everyone. UREC not only is a place to work out but UREC aims to promote and advance healthy lifestyles through approximately 300 educational programs. Many donors have contributed to help UREC become so successful.
In 2015, a group of UREC Alumni and staff began the 96ers fundraiser with a goal of creating a $50,000 UREC Student Employee Scholarship endowment by 2020. Once the fund hits $50,000, interest will begin to accumulate providing scholarships to one or more student employees every year.
Brian and Katie Zopp met and fell in love while working as student employees of UREC. To honor the place where their family began, The Zopps family made an incredibly generous investment of $25,000 to be donated toward endowing the 96ers fund so that a student employee of UREC will receive a scholarship.
To further highlight the UREC experience, we asked employee’s why they donate, and what makes UREC so special to them.
Kathryn Morgan is currently a Sports and Recreation Management Major student here at JMU. In addition to working at UREC as an Event Operations Specialist, Member Services Assistant, and a Group Exercise Instructor, she is also a donator to the 96ers fund.
“I decided to donate to UREC because UREC has given me so much including friends and mentors, development through experiences, and a home away from home. All of the staff have made a huge impact on my life and helped me to grow through experiences. I want to give back to UREC for all that they have given me. I love the UREC community and being able to be a part of it.”
Nora Osei is a graduate student pursuing a master of Science in Kinesiology, with a Concentration in Sports and Recreation Leadership, with a focus in Campus Recreation.
“I decided to invest in UREC because they first invested in me. By giving me the opportunity to be a graduate assistant at UREC, they took a leap of faith and invested their time, resources, and kindness to me. Their investment helped me to not only find my career path but also find my passion. I hope that my investment into the UREC 96’s can help other students find their passion, and use recreation as a vehicle to develop them to become the best versions of themselves possible.”
Christian Miller, a graduate assistant in the Campus Recreation Leadership program donated the 96ers fund because of his personal connection.
“I decided to donate to UREC because of the impact that campus recreation has had on my life. I wanted to donate to the UREC 96ers Scholarship to help provide others with the chance to grow and develop through working with campus recreation without having the added stress of working an additional job or taking out student loans. UREC employs hundreds of students, so its wide reach throughout campus means that it has the potential to impact a significant number of people. I wanted to be a part of the positive impact.”
Ashley Brooks, a junior Health Science major shares her love for UREC:
“I was introduced to incredible role models that are my supervisors as well as my peers. I have learned so much about myself such as my leadership skills and how I operate under pressure. Additionally, I have been able to develop my interpersonal skills as well as other professional skills by gaining interview and resume building opportunities.”
UREC, thank you for inspiring Dukes to be their best and for giving them tremendous opportunities to grow.