Recreational programs keep campus alive during summer

While students return home and relax for summer vacation, the dorms, fields and classrooms at the College are brimming with excited participants.

These people attend the variety of summer conferences and sports camps that the office of Conference and Meeting Services (CMS) hosts from late June to mid-August.

Though these partakers come to the College to improve their athletic skills or explore creative fields of study, these events take on a new meaning in the upcoming school year.

This summer, Gov. Jon S. Corzine and the state legislature passed the new state budget. The budget reduced the College’s funding from $12 million to $8 million, causing a rise in tuition and cuts in expenses.

“People are not really aware of the importance of the programs offered by CMS,” Shari Blumenthal, assistant director of Auxiliary Services for CMS, said. “The program’s income offsets student fees and (eases the burden created by the financial cuts) that were made for the upcoming school year.”

These programs featured over 24 sports-related camps with 11 different sessions, including softball, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, lacrosse, football, wrestling and swimming.

Children anywhere from eight to 18 years of age engaged in competitive, yet fun, camps to improve their athleticism. The athletes resided in Travers and Wolfe and had their meals in Eickhoff Hall.

According to Blumenthal, this experience “exposes kids to the college campus” and encourages them to remember the College when choosing their post-secondary education.

CMS also offered a wide variety of conferences. Events included the Special Olympics, which provides athletic competition for people with mental disabilities; Collegebound, which offered high school students a look into the college admissions process; and the prestigious Governor’s School of the Arts.

Governor’s School is a four-week program for select high school students to study either creative writing, dance, music (vocal or instrumental), theater, video/film production or visual arts.

“We’ve been hosting the Governor’s School for several years, but this year, there was some doubt over whether we would be hosting Governor’s School because their funding had recently been cut,” Blumenthal said. “So, needless to say, we were so excited to find out we could host them again.”

Students in Governor’s School expressed their love of the program and the College’s facilities.

“Governor’s School was an amazing experience,” Anthony O’Conner, a student from central New Jersey, said. “I came here because I love music and music was what I got. The facilities were great and being around people who have the same interests of me was really fun. It was one of the best times of my life.”

While the participants were busy experiencing one of the most exciting episodes of their lives, the CMS staff worked hard to keep these camps and conferences running smoothly to ensure their return next summer.