A Q&A with Rec Clubs Coordinator Peter Kramer

Portland State Rec Clubs is a student-led program that offers a wide range of sports, games and activities. Each club is under the leadership of students and funded through student fees. Rec Clubs aims to be community-oriented, safe, sustainable, diverse, accessible and educational. Student participation is encouraged for recreation, as well as intercollegiate completion for all skill levels.

Rec Clubs Coordinator Peter Kramer has been with PSU since 2009. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota. During that time, he worked at its recreation center as a student employee and was a four-year member of the Men’s Lacrosse Club. After completing an internship with UCLA’s Competitive Sports Program, he made the move to PSU as the Rec Clubs graduate assistant. In 2012, he became the Rec Clubs coordinator.

Vanguard: How would you describe the Rec Club experience?

Kramer: You might not even like the actual activity that you are doing, but you might like the group of people that participate in it. Going back to the days of my undergrad, being a part of the Minnesota Men’s Lacrosse team was my life. Through that, I met people in other clubs. You just meet new friends and new people. It is a fun experience and that is what makes your higher-level experience fun.

VG: What are some reasons students should be joining a Rec Club?

PK: It is engagement. I come from the school of thought that if you are engaged, if you are participating in a student group or Rec Club—anything on campus—you are more likely to succeed in your schoolwork as well. Rec Clubs is a perfect avenue to meet new people, make new friends, and maybe try a sport or activity that you’ve never tried before. It is to broaden your horizons and meet people of common interest that you like.

VG: What is the best way to get started?

PK: Stopping by our office is important. The key to anything is to get in contact with the club leaders themselves. Developing that relationship is great. We always strongly encourage our club officers and presidents to be open and engaging when someone emails them—to respond right away. Our club leaders are great. I think they take huge interest in their clubs, and their interest is infectious. If anybody new is interested, get in contact with the club leaders and get into that community.

VG: What is the first step in starting a club?

PK: Come in and talk to us. Talk to me directly. I’ll sit down and have a conversation with you about interests. A lot of the time, where that usually goes is me asking questions to see what the individual wants the club to be. Is it something that fits under our umbrella? For instance, maybe it operates as a [Student Activities & Leadership Programs] group, not a Rec Club. Maybe it is a community group as opposed to a highly competitive group.

VG: What are typically ways a club promotes themselves?

PK: Night at the Rec and Party in the Blocks are the Rec Clubs’ two big opportunities to market. We believe that fall is the biggest time to market. We provide those two opportunities for clubs to market. Besides that, it is on the individual club to decide if they want a table out in the Park Blocks, whether they want to do Facebook posts that highlight their club. We have a Facebook page where we market the clubs, but the club leaders have to provide us with the materials in order to make that successful.

VG: If a new student comes into your office for the first time, what would you say to them?

PK: “Hi, I’m Peter, and I am the Rec Clubs coordinator. How can I help you?” I’ll overload people with information. I don’t do that to confuse anybody or overwhelm them, but I do it to provide them with highlights of what we offer as a department. Sometimes I will talk about other program areas. What we want to try to do as a department and a university is find what makes people tick and what interests them. We have the means to provide for students to participate and be engaging.

VG: What are you looking forward to this year?

PK: It’s exciting to work with new and interested students. When it comes to club leadership, every year things change. You have some people that return, but generally it is a whole bunch of new faces, challenges, and you are constantly learning. The most rewarding thing about my job is that it is never the same on any given day. It is always consistently changing. A lot of that has to do with the different personalities that I interact with.

For more information about joining a Rec Club, visit pdx.edu/recreation/rec-clubs. If you want to come meet the officers of the clubs, visit Night at the Rec, which will be held on Tuesday, September 22, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the Rec Center Courts, and Party in the Park on Thursday, October 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the PSU Park Blocks.