Faculty and students in recreation and park administration (RPA) received many accolades at last month’s National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) annual conference in Las Vegas.

Several of Assistant Professor Tracy Mainieri’s students decided to take up her challenge and respond to a call from NRPA for teams of students to design the “park of the future.” The effort is part of positioning the association to continue to lead the national conversation on the role of public parks and recreation programs in promoting conservation, health & wellness, and social equity.

Dylan Broombaugh, Haley Bess, Spencer Freed, and Alexis Yakich had to think about the future and to visualize the needs of future generations. Their winning proposal featured universal access for people, storm water management, and opportunities for health and recreation. They presented their Park for the Future design during the grand opening of the exhibition hall. Congratulations to Dylan, Haley, Spencer, Alexis, and their mentor Mainieri.

Occurring in conjunction with the conference was the annual meeting of Rho Phi Lambda, a national honorary fraternity for students in recreation, parks, tourism, and related fields. Illinois State garnered two of the three most prestigious awards presented annually. Breida Hill won the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Scholarly Activity award, based on research she completed with Mainieri on the implementation of counselor journals at nearby Girl Scout camps. They presented their research findings at the American Camp Association last February. Kate Moran won the Outstanding Leadership and Service award based on her myriad volunteer and leadership experiences, especially for youth at risk and people with disabilities.

Other student involvement at the conference included Rachel Oprondek ’14 and Taylor Witter presenting research findings on recreation managers’ perceptions of leadership and management with their mentor, Mainieri, during the poster sessions at the conference.

Finally, announced at the conference was the approval of continuing accreditation for the RPA program, after months of work on the accreditation process by RPA faculty members under the lead of faculty members Brent Beggs and Barbara Schlatter. This marks 30 years of continuing accreditation by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions for the program.

The Council also commended the faculty on their new McCormick Hall facility, faculty attention to student issues, and for their strong alumni base.

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