Department of Recreations Sports offers social, physical outlet

Oregon State University’s Department of Recreational Sports provides a social and physical outlet for students and community members through their facilities, Dixon Recreation Center and McAlexander Field House.

While staying active is part of a healthy lifestyle, students can benefit from working out far beyond just physical health, according to Tina Clawson, assistant director for advancement and assessment.

“Open 117 hours per week during the academic term, Recreational Sports counted nearly one million swipes of ID cards into our facilities last year,” Clawson said in an email.

There are various physiological benefits to using Dixon facilities including, but not limited to helping combat stress, fighting illness, elevating mood, boosting energy and improving attention span, according to Clawson. There are also other non-physiological benefits to working out, such as meeting others with similar interests, countering boredom, developing new skills and becoming a recognized leader.

According to Angela Bowlby, a senior fitness associate and group fitness instructor, in comparison to other gyms, Dixon has a welcoming vibe for students and staff members to feel like a community.

“More than just being a gym, Dixon offers programs and events that allow for students to interact, have new experiences and grow as individuals,” Bowlby said in an email.

Bowlby says her last 2 ½ years at Dixon have helped her to develop new friends, gain confidence and become a healthier individual overall.

“There is so much at Dixon for students to get involved with, such as intramural sports, Adventure Leadership Institute programs and Fit Pass classes that allow for students to be surrounded by their peers while living an active and healthy lifestyle,” Bowlby said in an email.

Dixon offers everything from cardio and weight equipment, to lap pools, to rock climbing, according to the Department of Recreation Sports website. There are also programs which offer unique fitness experiences such as DAM Fit, which is a small-group training program designed for participants to work together in supporting each other towards individual goals.

Adventure Leadership Institute is a theory-based program combining classroom and outdoor activities and experiences to develop leaders, according to Clawson. In addition, Fit Pass classes can be bought within Dixon and provide more than 90 classes per week for students.

“In addition to our regular educational and recreational programming, the Department of Recreational Sports brings the fun and adventure to campus-wide events like Welcome Week, Family Weekends and Bring Your Kids to Campus Day with special tournaments, outings and parties,” Clawson said in an email. “Our Rec Night kicks off Welcome Week with an average attendance of 2,800 students.”

The staff at the Department of Recreation Sports strives to offer an activity for every interest, according to Clawson. However, there is always encouragement from the department for students to come forward with new ideas.

“With its greater size and variety of recreation space and equipment, Dixon Recreation Center is a social hub for campus,” Clawson said in an email. “McAlexander Fieldhouse draws fewer people, and is a great space for those who seek a quieter environment for activity.”

McAlexander can be located on the east side of Goss Stadium and is an indoor facility, according to Clawson.

According to Cole Scherer, an operations associate at Dixon, those looking to rock climb or belay will usually go to McAlexander, since the rock wall there is quite a bit larger than the rock wall at Dixon.

“The indoor turf field also provides a place for students to play soccer when the weather outside isn’t perfect,” Scherer said in an email. “When does that ever happen in Oregon, am I right?”

Whether it be Dixon or McAlexander, participating in physical activity can be an escape from the struggles of school work, according to Scherer.

“Taking part in a physical activity after a long day at school brings people together!” Scherer said in an email. “It’s that simple.”

According to Scherer, working at Dixon has kept him sane while he finishes his Master’s program at OSU, and staying physically active has helped him to make friends.

“Stop by Dixon! The staff are welcoming, the environment is fun, and the activities are a blast!” Scherer said in an email. “Dixon is a hub for students to connect and interact. Take advantage of it!”