Campus Rec: As distinct as Portland

Opened only five years ago, Portland State’s Campus Recreation Center was created with the objective to “inspire, empower and educate.”

The Rec Center services between 1,000-2,000 students per day, allowing for a balance of academics and fitness here at PSU. Campus Rec partners with several other campus organizations, including Student Activities, Women’s Resource Center, Veterans Resource Center, Queer Resource Center, the Multicultural Centers, the School of Community Health and the Honors College. Campus Rec is present at every orientation and major school event with the intention of providing information for those who seek it. The outreach efforts of Campus Rec have ensured its involvement with almost every entity of campus life.

Campus Rec Director Alex Accetta, who was instrumental in the creation of the Rec Center, explained his vision of what the center represents.

“We want it to be sort of like a safe haven for students from the rest of campus; a place where they can come and take the time they need to get re-centered,” Accetta said.

With over 500 faculty, staff and alumni members, Campus Rec draws more than just student membership. Accetta believes fitness to be an important part of academic success for the entire PSU community.

“Whether you’re a student going to school and your main focus is to study or whether you’re a professor teaching, you’re still sort of feeling the pressure of that as your job, right? And we’re still human, so as humans we need to move our bodies…if the university doesn’t provide that opportunity for people to do both, then everybody sort of gets stressed out,” Accetta said.

In addition to stress relief, Campus Rec employs around 200 PSU students and has nearly 25 percent of its operating budget going back to students through employment compensation, according to the Rec Center website. With 500 students participating in rec clubs and intramurals, those who aren’t a part of athletics are given a chance to compete in their chosen sport. These aspects promote a productive and healthy engagement in the PSU community.

Campus Rec strives to be as innovative as the city itself. This spirit of innovation can be seen in programs like Trans Affirming workouts, Goalball, Sit Volleyball and Wheelchair Basketball. Collaboration with the art department is also underway, as the center looks to couple fitness with visual and performing arts. Under the guidance of board member and Art and Social Practice professor Harrell Fletcher, the rec center will begin its process of artistic implementation in the spring. Accetta feels that Campus Rec should represent the progressive and diverse culture found here in Portland, saying, “We definitely try to mirror the city we’re a part of, without a doubt,” Accetta said.

Before the creation of the Rec Center, students were limited to spending their time at places like the Millar Library, Smith Memorial Student Union or the Peter W. Stott Center. While there were opportunities for students to take their fitness and recreation into their own hands, the campus was lacking a proper fitness facility. Accetta takes pride in what has blossomed from his initial vision of a campus recreation center. He believes it has helped campus life become what it is today.

“I’m very biased, clearly, but I think this has been successful in changing the culture of campus,” said Accetta.

Five years after its inception, the Rec Center remains one of the most prominent campus entities and strives to uphold its mission statement “To create an environment where quality recreation and wellness programs inspire, empower and educate individuals to be positive contributors to the Portland State and global community.”