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Let Recreation Be My Pen

In this article, get to know the three graduate assistants for University Recreation and see the impact that recreation has had on their lives and how it influenced their decision to become involved in the field.

While University Recreation (“UREC”) looks slightly different during a worldwide pandemic, its work to create programs and opportunities for students to remain active has not changed. Helping with creating programs, promoting opportunities, and guiding students are the three new graduate assistants for Appalachian State’s University Recreation Department: Myself, Jules Silver- Communications GA, Rachel Baker - Fitness and Wellness GA, and Dusty Roberts- Outdoor Programs GA.

I am from Boone, North Carolina. I graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management and I am now pursuing my master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration. I hope to pursue a career in campus recreation. As the Communications Graduate Assistant, I am working with Erin Sanders, the Assistant Director for Sports Programs. I always say, “Recreation has always been a part of my life and through my jobs at the UNCW Recreation Center I found my passion for helping students to be active.” My favorite form of recreation is lifting weights and I loved the outdoor lifting areas at the Quinn Recreation Center and the Student Recreation Center. I am ready to go for indoor weight lifting.

Dusty Roberts is from Millers Creek, North Carolina. He went to Appalachian State for his undergraduate degree and decided to return for his master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration. Due to his passion for the outdoors, he decided to apply, then later received a Graduate Assistantship with Outdoor Programs through UREC. He works directly with Bob Riddle, the Coordinator for Outdoor Programs, and Valerie Kankiewicz, the Assistant Director for Outdoor Programs. His favorite form of recreation is to be outdoors, especially climbing. Dusty says, “If my story is a sum of memories then let recreation be my pen...recreation offers me more than I could ever hope to give back.” During the summer Dusty spent time as a climbing guide for Rock Dimensions. He was able to lead many climbing trips that created amazing memories as mentioned in the above quote.

Rachel Baker is from Cherryville, North Carolina. She went to Campbell University for her undergraduate degree and became involved with their campus recreation program. She started as a fitness instructor as a first-year, then became a fitness ambassador, fitness attendant, and fitness supervisor. Rachel is now the graduate assistant for Fitness and Wellness with UREC. She is working directly with Gabby Dickey, the Assistant Director for Fitness and Wellness. Rachel says, “Being in the field of recreation gives me a purpose… it is awesome that we as leaders, coaches, and instructors get to make a difference in people’s lives.” One of Rachel’s favorite things about being in the field of recreation is being the motivator for people. She loves working alongside and encouraging people to be the best version of themselves.

Though all of our stories are unique, we all are excited to begin working with the incredible staff at University Recreation. Dusty, Rachel, and I each have a passion for helping people achieve their goals and remain active. COVID-19 has changed the way people exercise and where they exercise. People have created gyms in their homes, on their decks, or in their backyard to keep active. The importance of staying active has remained the same if not increased during these uncertain times. Rachel, Dusty, and I are excited to be a part of the UREC story and eager to begin making an impact.

Sep 3