College campuses, specifically campus recreation programs have a problem on their hands. If they’re paying attention and I know many are, there is concern about the changing landscape. The long held popular sports, or general engagement in sports is changing, especially in collegiate intramural sports.
Throughout the US there a Colleges and University campus recreation professionals working diligently to provide students with a diverse and comprehensive experience to their education. For most schools there are the regular sports such as flag football, volleyball, basketball, and soccer. What many are finding, myself included, is that the old standards are not as effective at drawing participants as they had in the past.
In order to keep up with this changing landscape it has become more important that campus recreation departments continue to provide a diverse programming base to retain and attract students. As I attend and speak at conferences the continual theme is people trying to find what’s new, what’s working, and more importantly what’s engaging students.
As a campus recreation professional I’m constantly dealing with this same battle. When I started my job as the Director of Recreation at Saint Martin’s University I have implemented a floorball program. We offer many sports, up to 15 throughout the year. What I have found is that floorball brings out a different crowd. This matters because it’s opened the door for new students to interact, engage, and hopefully find community on campus. I guarantee that these same students weren’t participating in other sports programs before. In fact, when I host open gym they’re coming looking to play floorball.
Floorball may not be the answer for everyone. However, if you’re already offering floor hockey and struggling with engagement give this a try. You might find it’s similar but different enough of a game to engage your community.