Rec Center staff recognized for leadership and academics

Portland State can add two more winners of the William N. Wasson Student Leadership and Academic Award to their list, which now makes a total of seven.

Jake Ostrow, the rec clubs graduate assistant, and Emily Skeen, the marketing and outreach student coordinator for Campus Rec, recently were chosen as winners of this award.

“The award recognizes the best student leaders across the country,” said Alex Accetta, director of Campus Rec.
PSU’s Academic and Student Rec Center is a part of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, which is the association that holds this national award annually.

Along with acknowledging leadership skills, the award also takes into account GPA and qualitative writing, which describes the things they’ve done in their jobs, like community service.

However, academics were not always a part of this award.

“We are trying to recognize that academics are clearly what we are here to do,” Accetta said.

This is why, more than six years ago, the award began to include students’ GPA.

Each year, the Campus Rec staff is asked to submit names for the award. This year, Accetta said, “We had quite a few people who thought Emily and Jake had shown outstanding leadership.”

Skeen, a senior at PSU, first began working for Campus Rec as an office assistant, which she commented was one of the best decisions she has made in college so far.

After starting her job as an office assistant, she knew she wanted to continue working for the Rec Center and eventually move up to a higher position.

“I told the student coordinator I was going to take her job when she graduated,” Skeen said.

She said that she felt the marketing position would help her develop her skills, and in June 2012 she was able to take over the coordinating position.

At the time there was no outreach program, and Skeen felt it was important to develop one.

Skeen put five Rec staff in charge of table events, giving tours and sharing information about what the Rec Center has to offer.

Skeen emphasized that there are a lot of different options for health at the Rec Center and it is not just a place for people to physically work out.

“[The Rec Center] is a place for students to come get healthier,” Skeen said.

After hearing she had won the award from her supervisor, Skeen admitted she was surprised and that she thought this type of award was presented to students who are classically into fitness.

Even though she was not expecting to win, Skeen commented, “It always feels good to be recognized.”

Ostrow agreed, stating, “It feels awesome to be recognized for your hard work.”

Ostrow began working with Campus Rec in 2009. Since then, he has taken positions as club leader, student coordinator and graduate assistant.

Out of all of the positions he has had, he admitted that his favorite is his current position: graduate assistant.

“My position at the Rec Center is directly related to what I want to do: programming and working with students,” Ostrow said.

Along with being involved with Campus Rec, Ostrow has been a part of several committees around campus.

He has also attended conferences for NIRSA and was a presenter at the NIRSA Sport Clubs Symposium.