Campus Rec finds new ways to get students involved

By Drew Lawson, Sports Editor

Intramural sports like basketball, flag football and ultimate frisbee might not be available this quarter at EWU, but I.M. Sports and EPIC Adventures are trying to accomplish one of its main goals through alternative methods: Increase student participation on campus. 

I.M. has conducted esports tournaments featuring Madden and MLB: The Show. They’ll be doing NBA 2K and FIFA tournaments starting May 11, according to Mike Campitelli, EWU Student Affairs’director of Campus Recreation Programs. 

“Two of the sports (are)  a league format (while) two of the sports (are) a tournament format, to see which one our students prefer,” Campitelli said. “We wanted to stick with more of the traditional sport-type games.”

Zach Berkshire, an EWU senior studying physical and health education, has participated or plans to participate in all of I.M. ‘s esports tournaments. Berkshire previously played softball through I.M. 

Berkshire, whose go-to Madden team is the Seattle Seahawks, said he’s enjoyed the tournaments quite a bit. 

“I think it’s a great way for intramurals to keep on going as we’re dealing with this pandemic,” Berkshire said. “It’s great how they’re keeping us still involved.”

Campitelli said the tournaments have had around 21 participants, which exceeded Campitelli’s expectations. All but one of the players are males. I.M. is currently thinking through ways to diversify the participation demographic. 

“I was afraid we’d offer it and nobody would sign up for it,” Campitelli said. “I was mildly happy with the fact that we had that (number).”

I.M. plans to make the esports a regular part of its offerings in quarters going forward, even when EWU goes back to face-to-face classes…someday.

Now that golf and fishing are reopening in accordance with Washington’s 4-phase plan of reopening, I.M. has plans for creative fishing and golf competitions. They will have participants partake in those activities on their own while practicing social distancing. Participants will then record their own scores. 

“As in any fishing tournament, you’ll get credit if you release the fish alive,” Campitelli said. “In golf … we’ll do score-to-par.”

Students interested in signing up for I.M. activities can do so through the Campus Rec website.

While I.M. hosts virtual and do-it-yourself competitions, EPIC Adventures is taking a phased approach to re-opening in accordance with Washington’s policies. Right now, they’re hosting free Zoom courses in survival skills, according to Madison Kinder, EPIC’s Outdoor Program Coordinator. 

“We put together a web page called the ‘Stay Home, Stay Active’ page,” Kinder said. “All of what we’re doing is encompassed in that one spot.”

That web page can be found on the Campus Rec website.

EPIC is considering limited trips in the fall, where only four to five students are able to attend. Eventually, EPIC will return to “regular” trips, but it’s unknown when exactly that will be.

“It’s a moving target every single day, depending on what the governor decides,” Kinder said. “Unfortunately we have to take it day by day, and hopefully when fall comes we’ll be in Phase 2 or 3 and we can start returning to normal operations.”

Both I.M. and EPIC are preparing for fall quarter in accordance with EWU’s plan for a flexible, online-first method. Campitelli said he was hoping that EWU would return to in-person courses and fall back to online courses if needed, but I.M. is ready for whatever comes their way.

“It’s going to stall the energy we had in the program,” Campitelli said. “I think the onus will be on me and the people that work with me to come up with some more creative and imaginative activities that are more than just esports. We’ve got to find some other type of programs that students might be attracted to, and we will find a way to do what we can until we get back to what the new normal will be.”