Campus Recreation staff keep students moving with virtual activities
With Liberty University’s residential classes moving online and Recreation Centers shut down soon after Spring Break due to COVID-19 restrictions, Liberty’s Campus Recreation department has found interesting ways to keep students plugged into extracurricular recreational activities — from wherever they are.
“I am proud of my staff who are continuing to engage the student population in the midst of this health crisis,” Vice President of Campus Recreation & Logistics Chris Misiano said. “While students might be spread out, we are still creating exciting content.”
He said virtual programming is the new norm for the time being, and his staff is actively working to incorporate activities that students can participate in remotely while observing social distancing.
“We have a unique opportunity to showcase how creative our team really is, and how we’re offering so much more than other schools in this situation,” Misiano said. “When we are met with adversity, we don’t stumble. We adapt, retool, and then rise to the occasion.”
While the LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center is currently closed, students can download Spotify playlists (@ Liberty University Campus Rec) for motivation during DIY workouts and utilize the LU Fit module in the Liberty Today app, with videos that feature Liberty fitness staff leading beginner, intermediate, and advanced exercise routines.
“We have been working on developing our LU Fit workouts for over a year, but now more than ever there is an emphasis on equipment-free workouts, and we are excited to expand the number of workouts that meet that need,” said Jamie Swyers, executive director of Recreation Centers.
Grayson Rogers, who will arrive at Liberty as a residential freshman in the fall, has joined the LU online community to get a jump start on her fitness training this spring. She enjoys the variety of workouts available to perform in the comfort of her own home while virtually engaging with the fitness staff and future classmates.
“These videos have been really helpful, and I have found that the workouts have been easy to motivate myself to do because they require little to no equipment,” Rogers said. “The workouts are different every few days, so I find the variety in what is provided extremely motivating and easy to accomplish.”
Swyers’ staff is also posting a walking challenge, home workouts, and giveaways on their social media accounts. An employee-written blog also tackles topics such as dietary advice, useful mobile apps, and ways to stay active during social distancing.
For students who are not far from campus, Liberty’s Outdoor Rec staff organized a scavenger hunt to challenge them to get outside to explore the Liberty Mountain Trail System and post photos to the LUOutdoors Instagram account. It also suggests a variety of do-it-yourself outdoor hiking, camping, fishing, and river trips in the region — from the Peaks of Otter to Crabtree Falls, the Appalachian Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, and James River.
Swyers said she is looking forward to offering a full schedule of recreational options again in the fall, from group exercise and personal training to water sports in the LaHaye Aquatic Center, rock climbing on the LaHaye Rock Wall, and bowling at the Montview Student Union. Outdoors Rec will again direct its six-race Liberty Mountain Trail Series, starting with the Deep Hollow Half Marathon and 5K in October.
Freshmen are scheduled to arrive on campus on Aug. 19-20 with returning students starting to arrive Aug. 21.
“My team misses being able to welcome students into all our campus recreation facilities, and I can’t wait to have them safely full again,” she said. “The spaces are truly not the same without the energy our student body brings to campus.”