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Sport Management student excels in work-from-home campus rec internship

Alexis in front of brick wall

Alexis Hartz ’20 found a routine to be the most helpful thing in her final semester as a York College of Pennsylvania Sport Management student. She gets up before 8 a.m., eats breakfast, gets dressed and ready for the day, and jumps right into work.

It might sound like any other work-from-home routine in the age of the coronavirus, but for Alexis, it has kept her grounded while she wraps up a semester-long work experience with the Campus Recreation Department at Kutztown University. “It’s certainly not how I expected my final semester of college to go,” she says, “but I think this experience has taught me a lot of things I wouldn’t have learned about life taking unexpected turns.”

Alexis, originally from Weatherly, Pennsylvania, remembers feeling at home the first time she stepped onto the York College campus. Coming from a small high school with class sizes of 20 or fewer students, she gravitated to the community feel the York College campus embodied. She remembers meeting Professor Molly Sauder during one of her early visits and feeling that “they would take care of me for the next four years,” she says.

The perfect fit

Sport Management became the perfect fit for the former volleyball and basketball player. While Alexis didn’t plan to play sports in college, she wanted to expand upon her love for the game and knew from her first introductory classes that she’d chosen the right path.

Selecting a specific career in that field wasn’t as easy. “There were so many opportunities shown to us that I bounced around from wanting to be an athletic director to doing events management and operations,” Alexis says. “I love the behind-the-scenes of sport.”

With her senior work experience quickly approaching, Alexis decided to apply for a desk job at Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center. She read a job description related to campus recreation and was drawn to the overall approach to wellness and caring for students’ wellbeing, such as exercise as an outlet. But when the Grumbacher staff learned more about Alexis’s interests, they suggested she become an intramural official, where she could really dive into what campus recreation offered.

In that position, Alexis learned how to manage a schedule and picked the brains of the many staff members who guided her in protocol, planning, and office management. When it was time to find a place to apply for her work experience, however, Alexis didn’t find too many positions being advertised. Instead, she got creative and reached out directly to the woman who would be her supervisor at Kutztown University, also a graduate of Weatherly High School, who Alexis found on LinkedIn.

“They essentially created a position for me because it was the first time they didn’t have one of their own students working in this role,” Alexis says. “I told them from the start to give me whatever work they thought would be relevant and helpful to me learning more about campus recreation. I wanted to get the most out of this opportunity.”

Her job duties included updating a 200-page policies and procedures manual, managing the intramural volleyball league, helping to plan a booth for the College health fair, and getting ready to hire students who would work in campus recreation during the fall semester.

Everything changed

When she was given a week off in early March to enjoy spring break, she soon found out she would only be returning to the Kutztown campus to clean out her apartment and gather things from the office. “March 11 was the date when things got a little crazy,” Alexis says. “There were a lot of uncertainties, and, because I’m not a regular student there, I wasn’t getting the same communications as everyone else. My supervisor did a really great job of answering my questions and keeping me posted.”

Even though both colleges had to shut down their campuses, Alexis has been working from her parents’ home, still finalizing that policy and procedures manual and participating in Zoom interviews with prospective employees for the recreation department. She has also helped organize online gaming with the intramural teams to keep them engaged and to have an outlet to get their minds off of the stress of being home at this time.

“It’s been hard for me only because I love talking to people and interacting with them in the office,” Alexis says. “I still feel like I’m getting the full experience and learning what it means to adjust when life throws you unexpected circumstances.” With a goal to attend graduate school and obtain a grad assistant position in the fall, Alexis knows that life is still full of a lot of uncertainties, but going through this experience has taught her to plan for what she can and roll with what comes her way. “I have high hopes that everything will work out.”

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