Feature: Illinois Campus Recreation Employees

By Domi Watkins




What better way to relieve stress than by heading to the gym? UIUC’s campus offers two central recreational centers, the Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) and Campus Recreation Center East (CRCE), where students and community members can run, lift weights and play on the courts to their heart’s content. These athletic facilities also offer opportunities for students to work for them and learn the importance of working hard and staying fit. Below are interviews with two Campus Recreation employees about their experiences.



Name: Amelia Kassa
Year: Senior
Major: Communications
Customer Service Assistant

The Spread: What are your responsibilities as a Customer Service Assistant?

Amelia: I maintain a professional and respectful work environment and individual demeanor at all times. As our supervisor always tells us, “We are the face and voice of Campus Recreation.” I’m also in charge of taking any phone calls from patrons, community members, and others  that have questions, comments, or concerns regarding Campus Recreation facilities, programs, events, and memberships. I have to know all of Campus Recreation’s policies, operations, and procedures. I assist with equipment check out and multipurpose room/court reservations. Along with that, we must correctly handle, process, and account for each monetary transaction.

TS: How would you describe the atmosphere of CRCE compared to the ARC?

A: While both facilities can get a little rowdy at times, the atmosphere at CRCE is significantly more slow-paced and laid back than the ARC. Throughout the week both facilities garner a lot of foot traffic, but since CRCE is significantly smaller than the ARC, there is a significantly less foot traffic.

TS: How often would you say you exercise?

A:  I take Group Fitness classes with Campus Recreation twice a week, and  on my own time I try to work out at least twice more. Admittedly this past week I slacked a little bit, but I’ve been a little under the weather so that seems to be a valid excuse.

TL; DR—I work out 3-4 times a week.

TS: What is the craziest moment you experienced working there?

A: A few weeks ago, I was working at CRCE in the middle of the afternoon and a girl forgot her iCard (Disclaimer: When there are no managers on the shift, like during the day, Customer Service Assistants are the supervisors of the other student employees). Proper protocol would be for the student to come to the Member Services’ Desk to do a UIN Lookup (which requires a government-issued photo ID). Mind you, this girl forgot her entire wallet but waited in line nonetheless. She proceeded to duck out of line (there were about 4-5 people in front of her) and head on over to the Women’s Locker room. The employee who directed her to Member Services informed me that she did not have any form of identification. I switched places with that employee and instructed them to go into the Women’s Locker Room to locate the patron and ask her to leave the premises.

As it turns out, the woman locked herself in the handicap stall in an attempt to either hide and/or wait out being escorted out of the facility. She stayed for 45 straight minutes. The employee I had sent into the locker room to find the patron had a walkie talkie (through which we were communicating) and the patron overheard my chatter over the radio, informing the fellow employee that if she were to remain in the stall any longer, I would proceed to call Security and/or Campus Police (again, per protocol).

THEN the woman emerged from the stall and proceeded to speed walk out of the building. Typically, we would have tried to get her UIN and other contact information as that behavior would warrant an immediate suspension from any and all Campus Recreation facilities. But, as she did not give us a name and  she forgot her wallet, we didn’t proceed with any form of consequence. I was in a live chat with my supervisor who was in her office at the ARC and she just couldn’t help but shake her head and laugh at the situation. Which, to be completely honest, I couldn’t either.

TS: If you have a workout routine, what is it?

A: Twice a week through Campus Recreation I take Body Pump Group Fitness classes, which are described on our website as “the original LES MILLS barbell class, will sculpt tone, and strengthen your entire body.” The class itself focuses on targeting all of the major muscle groups by engaging them with low weights and lots of reps—which incorporates a little bit of cardio into what could arguably be a strength training class. On my own time, I like to do cardio and core. I usually spend 30-45 minutes on an elliptical and then do a few circuits of core exercises.

TS: Would you say it’s more fun to workout with friends or by yourself?

A: I think it depends, honestly. I enjoy working out with friends/in groups in regards to the group fitness classes—perhaps because it’s easier to motivate yourself when you involve other people in an activity. But I also really enjoy working out on my own because I can go at my own pace and also just have some good old-fashioned Amelia time.



Name: Sara Desmond
Year: Junior
Major: Integrative Biology
Customer Service Assistant

The Spread: How would you describe the atmosphere of CRCE compared to the ARC?

Sara: The ARC definitely gets busier than CRCE. I have worked some shifts at the ARC where I’m constantly doing something, while at CRCE there are usually several slower periods during a shift.

TS: How often would you say you exercise?

S: I would say I exercise 3-4 times a week when I’m not busy, 1-2 times a week when I am really busy.

TS: What is the craziest moment you experienced working there?

S: One time when I was working at the ARC a guy came to the desk with his hand covered in blood and said there was blood all over the wall in a gym. I have also heard some interesting arguments from patrons when they try to get into the gym without their I-card.

TS: If you have a workout routine, what is it?

S: I don’t really have a workout routine, but I usually like running around the track and I try to incorporate calisthenics once a week.

TS: Would you say it’s more fun to workout with friends or by yourself?

S: I think it’s more fun to workout with friends when I do longer runs because it’s nice to have someone to talk to, but I also just like listening to music when I work out.


*Image Sources:

Header image from http://blog.admissions.illinois.edu/

Student photos courtesy of Amelia Kassa and Sara Desmond

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