Written by Brent Beggs

The RPA program had an exciting school year in 2011–2012. Nine students were inducted into the Rho Phi Lambda honors fraternity and several exceptional RPA students were recognized at the annual KNR Awards Ceremony for their accomplishments in academics and service. We also recognized Tom Hartwig of Oak Lawn Park District at the Illinois State University RPA Alumni and Friends Social at the annual Illinois Parks and Recreation Association conference in January. Hartwig has helped RPA through his continued participation in the Alumni Showcase, professional practice supervision, and serving as a guest speaker in many of our classes over the years. He also co-organized a reunion honoring Dr. Goodwin’s tenure at Camp Limberlost. Students always enjoy his candid comments about the field! In addition, Brent Beggs and Chad McEvoy were promoted to full professor. The RPA program bids a fond farewell to McEvoy who will move to Syracuse University.

[alert style=”red”]KNR Point of pride: KNR faculty were awarded two external grants and three internal grants last year. [/alert]

Parks and Recreation Society (PARS) members volunteered for the World Wide Day of Play and helped with the planning and implementation of the Festival of Trees. Several brave members did the Polar Plunge fundraiser for the Special Olympics. More than 30 students attended the Illinois Parks and Recreation Conference (IPRA) in Chicago to volunteer, network, and attend educational sessions. Guest speakers at PARS meetings included alums Carlos Bras, Amy Clements Peterson, Nancy Niebur-Parente, and Di Shepard. Being a part of the Parks and Recreation Society at Illinois State University is a great way for students to get involved in the parks and recreation field before becoming professionals. Developing friendships and learning about the profession are two goals of the Parks and Recreation Society. It was a great year for PARS! Check us out on Facebook.

The new academic year presents new challenges for RPA. We will be initiating a new student assessment system to help us better prepare our students to enter the work force. We also look forward to implementing curricular changes to our Therapeutic Recreation program. These changes are designed to meet certification requirements.