Men’s and Women’s Teams Bring Rugby Culture to Oakland


On April 13th, the men’s and women’s club rugby teams will be hosting a sevens flag rugby tournament. Players will be divided into three co-ed teams made from both of Oakland’s rugby teams.

“We’re coming together as a community of rugby players, having a good time and sharing the love for the sport,” says Olivia Miller, sophomore and first year player to the women’s rugby club.

The idea of this event is to give people a peek into the culture that is associated with the sport of rugby. With rugby, it is expected for players to play as hard as possible during the match. After the match is a time for celebration of the sport with the opposing team.

This tournament brings the celebration to the field to show that rugby isn’t all about hurting one another and playing in the mud. It is about the community that is built among rugby players and how the sport can bring people together.

The teams formed from each rugby club are expected to come up with a team identity  and bond by coming up with costumes to play in.

Some team identity ideas that have been floating around include Flow Masters, Wizards, and Spartans among others.

Sevens rugby is very similar to the traditional 15′s rugby (or Rugby Union) that is played by both the men’s and women’s teams in the Fall and Spring except the number of players is reduced to just seven.

To keep up with the real pace of rugby while maintaining safety between all players, when the person with the ball gets their flag pulled, the flag puller and the previous ball carrier will set the ball between them while the referee calls “crouch, bind, set”, a cadence primarily reserved for what is called a “scrum” in other forms of rugby. The two individuals will then fight for the ball after completing the cadence. In the case of this event, the ball must be won for three seconds or out from underneath both players in order for the ball to be put back into play.

This event will have the fighting for the ball after a pulled flag (rucking for the ball) and sevens style scrums. Scrums happen when there is a certain infraction of play such as a forward pass or the ball gets knocked forward by a player.

Come support Oakland Rugby this Sunday, April 13th from 1 to 5:30 pm! There will also be a 50/50 raffle prior to the 3:00 pm kickoff.

The event can be found on Facebook here and if you want more information about each club visit their Facebook Fan Page!


A scrum as traditionally performed in Rugby Sevens

What to Expect When You’re Rec-ing

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Another year at Oakland and another year at the Rec are over for me. I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t happy summer vacation is almost here. But being one year closer to the “real world” (whatever that means) is undoubtedly scary. I try not to think about it, but as I start my internship this summer, one of the last steps in completing my education, the fact that I will soon be leaving the safe haven of OU and the Rec Center is in my peripheral, jumping up and down trying to get my attention.

It is this time of year, when spring is in the air and life is full of new beginnings, that I tend to reflect on the years gone by. Looking back, one of my first memories of OU is walking barefoot back to my car after my interview at the Rec. You may be asking: What’s wrong with you? Well, there’s nothing wrong with my except for the fact that I tend to wear shoes that are uncomfortable for the sake of fashion. The story is, after my interview at the Rec, I was feeling pretty confident with myself and decided to save my feet the extra trauma and walk barefoot through campus. Don’t judge.

When that interview took place, I was 18 years old with no job experience and very little people experience.  But Marie VanBuskirk and Nick Ladaga (a Membership Program Assistant at the time) took a chance on me – not that I was a loose cannon or anything – and gave me a job as a Welcome Center Attendant. Working on “the front lines,” I learned an incredible amount about interacting with people, customer service, teamwork, problem solving, being proactive, and communication. Maybe that’s why by the end of my first year of school and working at the Rec, I declared my major as just that: communication.

As my sophomore year rolled by, I took a class in Peer Tutoring Composition that inspired me to use my writing abilities to be a tutor at the Oakland University Writing Center. I applied and got the job. But what about the Rec? How was I supposed to leave behind a position at the Rec in which I had grown so confident? When I came to Marie about my dilemma, I was encouraged to follow my pursuits at the Writing Center. Maybe that’s why by the end of my sophomore year, I was a communication major with a writing and rhetoric minor. I became a peer tutor at the Writing Center and left my position as a regular Welcome Center Attendant. But my time at the Rec wasn’t over. I was soon offered a position as Social Media Intern, and jumped at the chance to use my passion for writing to help promote the Rec.

As a Social Media Intern, I was encouraged by Graduate Assistant Sarah Button to choose my own topics for the blog and express my voice in my writing. Positive feedback from people I truly respected like Sarah and Assistant Director of Marketing & Business Operations Maura Selahowski gave me confidence. The familiarity I gained with social media and marketing in my position gave me experience. Maybe that’s why I earned my summer internship position, which I am incredibly excited to start in a few weeks.

I’m trying not to be too cheesy and nostalgic quite yet; after all, I have another year of life to live at OU and the Rec before my time is officially up. As I wrap up this year, however, I’m beginning to realize just how much working at the Rec has positively influenced my life as a student, future professional, and as an individual. When I first applied for a position at the Rec, I did so on a whim; I never thought I’d be offered so many amazing opportunities and experiences that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Looking toward the future, I know I will forever be thankful for the professional staff and other student employees who made my experience at the Rec a positive one. And when the time does come for me to leave OU for more than just summer vacation, I will walk away better for having worked at the Rec. And no matter what shoes I choose to step out in, I know I’ll be more comfortable in them.



Erin Avey

Reflections of the Social Media Intern

Joining the Department of Campus Recreation team as a Social Media Intern last summer was one the most fruitful and fulfilling decisions that I’ve made as a student leader at Oakland University. The atmosphere is welcoming and full of creative autonomy, which is something that, as an intern, proved to be beneficial in the growth of all social media platforms.

When I first started, Sarah Button, the Marketing Graduate Assistant and my direct supervisor, casted a vision for both myself and Ethan Scott, the Graphic Design Intern, in terms of where she wanted the marketing department to be by April 2014. Since the beginning of that vision, I’ve been able to work with some incredible people who all have the same common goal in mind: to create a space for the students, faculty, and community to come to have some fun and better themselves.

This is a place where goals are set, a place where meeting those goals becomes a priority the moment that you walk in the door.

I hit the ground running when I started because I wanted to jump right into assessing the current social media efforts at the time. It was important to me to learn everything that I could about how things worked in Campus Rec because without a full understanding and a general idea of the road that we were on, I didn’t feel as if I would be able to effectively market the department.

Throughout the summer and fall semester, I made it my goal to make sure that every piece of information that was sent out to our followers (Facebook, Twitter, the Blog) was relevant to the mission of the department and was helpful for our students and patrons. Meaningless interactions weren’t going to generate any buzz on what it means to use the Rec Center.

Moving into the winter semester, I wanted to end strong. I didn’t want all of the work that we had done together as a team to go to waste. So I hunkered down and set out to finish strong.

I’d be lying if I told you that there weren’t bumps in the road. There are always bumps in the road. In fact, I’d be worried if there weren’t any. I failed at some things. I got things done late. I dropped the ball a few times. But we always managed to pull through when it mattered. Here are some things that I recommend you do if you want to be successful as a Social Media Intern:

  • Start early and get things done ahead of time. You’re going to get projects at the last minute or a month in advance. Do your best to stay on top of it.
  • Work diligently.
  • Form a great relationship with the other interns, as they are in the same boat as you. Rely on each other to get things done as a team.
  • Form a great relationship with the graduate students who you’ll be working with regularly on projects. Especially form a relationship with the Marketing grad. They will be the person that you work the closest with.
  • Get to know the professional staff, too. They are going to have projects for you and it’s important to help whenever it’s necessary.
  • Have some fun. Cliche, I know. But the work you’ll be doing will bog you down if you let it.
  • Get up and take a lap around the track. Just do it. It’ll help you think clearer.

Overall, this is a great opportunity and you have the chance to make it whatever you want to. So dream big!

NIRSA Regional Basketball Championships: 2014 Edition


It’s been a little over a month since Oakland University hosted the 2014 NIRSA Regional Basketball Championship. Since the excitement has died down, we’ve been able to compile all of the results and reflect on the great time that we had hosting the series for the second year in a row.

Overall, there were 183 participants across 20 teams from the region and a total of 43 games played. The winner of the men’s bracket was Central Michigan University’s Club B team, who edged Bradley University’s team 54-53. For the women’s, the Marquette University Gold squad beat Central Michigan University’s team in the championship game.

Having the opportunity to host the tournament for two years has been a fruitful experience for not only the Department of Campus Recreation, but also Oakland University and the surrounding area. We were able to expose our facilities and campus to students at other schools as well as spectators, which totaled over 900 people, who came to watch their teams play.

Local sponsors included BD’s Mongolian Barbecue, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Noodles & Company, DiBella’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Red Roof Inn, and Whole Foods Market. These sponsors helped fuel the players, coaches, referees, and everyone who helped out with the event.

Did you attend the tournament? What did you think of it?

Women’s Lacrosse Unchallenged



The women’s lacrosse team at Oakland University has dominated their competitive season this spring placing first in the North Conference of the Division II Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse League.

“When we won our conference on March 15th, we beat out University of Michigan -Flint, Eastern Michigan, Saginaw Valley State, Wayne State, and Grand Valley State,” says Ronnie Booth, Women’s Lacrosse president.

The team competes in the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse League’s North Division and is placed in Division II based on Oakland’s school size. Oakland has won their conference for the past six years and shows great potential in moving up a division.

“If Oakland got a little bit bigger and we moved up to Division I, we would probably bump out one of the less competitive Division I schools,”  says Ronnie.

Oakland not only has conference tournaments and regional games against teams within their own division, but they compete in what is called “crossover games”. These are games where a team plays against another team in a different division.

“Our biggest rivals would be University of Michigan, Central Michigan, and Michigan State. They’re all Division I teams, but we have never lost to Central or Michigan State,” says Ronnie. “We have Michigan State and Central always following us because we always beat them, but we’re always following University of Michigan because we have never beaten them.”

Women’s Lacrosse hosts their last home game against Central Michigan on Friday, April 11th at Detroit Country Day. For more details, look for their event on their Facebook page.

On Easter weekend, the team looks to go to their conference championship tournament to win an automatic bid into nationals. Best of luck to you, ladies!


Current Employees Get Schooled By Rec Veterans

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On the evening of March 25, six Oakland grads returned to their old stomping grounds to attend an Alumni Panel and give current Rec Employees some advice on networking, obtaining a job, and being overall productive members of society.

But these weren’t just any alumni.  These Golden Grizzlies all worked at the Rec while completing their undergraduate degrees and credit their positions at the Rec as their first “professional” jobs.  Panelists ranged from former lifeguards, fitness attendants, welcome center attendants, building managers, intramural supervisors and program assistants.

Today, these professionals work in fields such as teaching, nursing, fitness coordinating, social work, marketing, and social media coordinating, but they haven’t forgotten the lessons they’ve learned from their time at the Rec. For example, several panelists described conflict management, time management, and communication as skills they learned at the Rec that they still use today.

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In addition, panelists shared their experiences with choosing a major, what a “normal day” in their job looks like, and what they would change about their time at OU. Current employees were also able to ask questions of the panelists about their specific fields.

Here are some of the tips offered to the current Rec employees who attended the event. Feel free to use them yourself!

  • Take advantage: Always embrace opportunities to network and learn from people already in your field
  • Shake everyone’s hand: You never know who will be the contact who gets you a chance at your dream job
  • Frame your experiences: Turn experiences you’ve had at part-time jobs or internships into stories that demonstrate your skills and personality to potential employers
  • Gain real world experience: Your GPA is obviously important, but in many fields, experience in internships or other jobs trump a high GPA
  • Think before committing: Don’t just take the first job opportunity that comes your way; make sure you will be happy doing that job for years to come
  • Don’t feel like you have to go to Graduate School: Some career fields prefer you have real world experience over another degree. On the other hand, it can be a huge advantage in some fields. Do some research and know your field’s stance on education beyond undergrad before committing (or ruling out) grad school
  • Have more fun: College is about preparing yourself for the future, but once those four (or five, or six) years are up, you’re out in the “real world” where ample opportunities for fun aren’t as abundant. Learn to balance being a student, future professional and social butterfly.
  • Stop stressing: As one panelist said, “You’re going to be fine, you’re going to make it.” All the students in attendance that night needed to hear that; tell yourself this on a daily basis.

As you can see, the Rec employees who attended this panel received some great advice. Thank you to these students for taking this important step toward futures so bright, you’ll have to wear shades.

Finally, thank you to all of our panelists: Patrick Shrader, Lyndsey Clements, Shanon L. Mapp, Erica Hirsch, Jackie Carline and Jason Kepsel!

If you’re interested in working at the Rec, gaining experience that will help you in your future, and having access to great opportunities like future Alumni Panels, please visit:

Fencing: The Physical Chess

Fencers in action with full foil gear on

Fencing may seem pretty simple to some who are unfamiliar with the sport. It may look like you are just trying to poke the other person with your fencing sword and earn victories that way, but it is far more complicated than that.

“Fencing is like a physical chess,” says Alissa Bandalene, Fencing Club President. “It’s a great sport, with a lot of tactical and endurance performance.”

One of the most complicated elements of fencing is the equipment involved. There are three different weapons used in competitive play and each has a different “target area”, or areas on the body where, once hit, counts as a point to the person who hit it

In every style of fencing fight, the fencer will have a weapon, fencing pants and jacket, a helmet, and gloves.

The three weapon types in fencing are:

Saber: The saber’s target area is the whole helmet, the waist-up including arms, but not hands. Fencers wear a lamé (pronounced luh-may) that is an electric sensor jacket that points out when the fencer has been struck within the target area. The helmet is also metal in saber matches, so it can pick up strikes to the target area on the head.  The lamé is worn in addition to the fencing jacket.

Foil: The foil’s target area includes the hips up to just under the chin, but does not include the arms or head. The lamé is in a tank top form in this type of match and includes a helmet with a sensor bib to include the whole foil target area.

Épée: The target area for épée match is the whole body including legs feet, hands, and head. There is no lamé  for this type of match.

The Fencing Club competes at a high level, having ranked in 11th place at the national fencing tournament held at the University of Notre Dame with women’s foil, and their men’s and women’s saber having ranked 8th place.

“Our expectations for next year will be high,” says Bandalene. “We expect to place higher in the rankings for next year.”

“The great thing about fencing is the fact that it is a sport with legitimate sword fighting,” states Bandalene. “The sport is also completely open to newcomers. We usually don’t see people who have fenced before unless they are at one of the Big 10 schools.”

If you are interested in joining the Fencing Club you can join their Facebook group or contact an officer from their GrizzOrgs page. They are looking for new fencers and will be at Go For the Gold this Saturday, March 22 from 10:30am to 1:30pm in the Oakland Center. Come by and talk to them if you are interested!

Employee Spotlight: Christina Henriquez

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Building Manager

Graduate Student in the Physical Therapy Program

Favorite part about working at the Rec:

Christina’s favorite part about working at the Rec is the wonderful atmosphere. According to Christina, you get to work with your friends and your friends come in to work out all the time, making the work environment even better.

Favorite Rec activities:

Christina has dabbled in numerous activities around the Rec Center including kickboxing, working out in the Fitness Center, and playing volleyball just for fun in the 3-court gym.

Skills learned while working at the Rec that will help with future endeavors:

Working at the Rec, Christina says she’s learned how to work with all different kinds of people and build useful relationships with patrons and fellow employees alike.

Fun fact:

Christina played Tenor Saxophone in the Spartan Marching Band for four years before coming to OU and joining the Campus Rec Family!

New Club Embraces Meditation and Mindfulness


A fresh club has sprung up on campus and they want you to join them! Happyou Happyme of Oakland University is the place to be if you are interested in learning to be happier, more focused, and less stressed. The club describes themselves as “A group dedicated to using meditation and mindfulness in a search for balance of body, mind and spirit through creating and sharing happiness” on their Facebook page. That sounds pretty great doesn’t it?

One of the coolest things about Happyou Happyme is that one of its founding members is the Rec’s own Welcome Center Attendant and Street Team member Emma Spak. She, along with Yoga instructor Tony Bittick, and E-board members Natalee Baetens, Kyle McCallum and Taylor James, are dedicated to bringing happiness and wellness into the lives of the OU community.

Happyou Happyme is determined to help those who attend its meetings to find balance of the body, mind and spirit through open discussion. But this isn’t a group therapy session. Instead, the club offers an opportunity to learn how to live positively, while also learning to help others live positively.

Tony, who leads Yoga classes at the Rec, had the idea to start a club after speaking occasionally on campus about the more mental and emotional side of Yoga practice. Realizing there was a need for more regular discussions regarding the topic, Tony came to Emma to start an on-campus club dedicated to teaching the concepts of meditation, mindfulness and karma.

In the future, the club hopes to extend its reach to the off-campus community and onto the web. Until then, check out one of the group’s meetings here at the Recreation Center Wellness Classroom on Tuesdays at 8:00 pm. Everyone is welcome; there’s no need to be an expert Yogi to be at peace like one.

And don’t forget to pair your mental health with some physical health at a Yoga class with Tony or our other great instructors. Take a look at the Group Ex schedule here!

5 Ways to Outsmart Seasonal Affective Disorder


March is here. That means springtime is right around the corner, right? It sure doesn’t feel like it out there. On average, temperatures during a Michigan March are in the 40s, yet as I sit writing this, it’s 10 degrees and cloudy. All this cold and lack of sun can really take a toll and your mood. This “down in the dumps” feeling that occurs around this time of year may be caused by Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

What is SAD? Who is at risk?

Scientists aren’t positive about what causes SAD, but one of the common explanations is lack of sunlight due to the winter’s shorter days. Shorter days and little sunlight can disrupt your usual sleep-wake cycle, and can also cause a dip in serotonin, a chemical in the brain that affects your mood.

According to WebMD (a totally credible source), certain people are more apt to experience SAD, such as people who live in areas where winter days are very short, people between ages 15 to 55, people who are women, and people with a close relative who experiences SAD (I’m no scientist, but this list seems like it covers pretty much everyone…)

The Symptoms

  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of energy
  • “Heavy” feeling in arms and legs
  • Social withdrawal
  • Excessive sleep
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Changes in appetite, such as craving carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating

The Treatment

  1. Light therapy: Soak in as much natural sunlight as possible by sitting near windows and going outside for walks when it’s not too cold. Don’t forget the sunblock though! (Yes, you need it in the winter too). Also consider obtaining and sitting near a light box, which mimics sunlight.
  2. Eat right: Foods high in carbohydrates may increase levels of serotonin; this may be why the body craves them when experiencing SAD. Feel better by trying Basmati rice, cereal, fruit (ya know like apples, pears, grapes, oranges, apricots), or drink some hot Bouillon broth. Personally, I’d try eating some fruit before I start downing broth, but that’s just me…
  3. Limit alcohol and caffeine: These drinks can exacerbate the symptoms of SAD. Instead, drink herbal tea.
  4. Regulate your sleep: Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning to keep your body in its normal sleep-wake rhythm. Also, try not to sleep through the day; you want to be out and about during the daylight hours so you can absorb the sun!
  5. Exercise: Of course working out is one of the treatments! When possible, exercise outside or near a sunny window. Luckily, windows that let the sunlight in surround the track and Fitness Center at the Rec.

One last note: Different people experience SAD in varying degrees, so its important to pay attention to the signs your body is sending you regarding your mental health. For some, SAD may be more than just feeling down every once in a while. Be sure to consult a doctor if your symptoms are keeping you from living your life normally.


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