Get involved, make friends and stay active

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Photo credit: Jian Bautista

Transitioning into college and trying to maintain classes, jobs, volunteering, extra curriculars and a social life makes it difficult for many people to stay in shape and stay active.

Many students may find it hard to find the motivation to plan a gym session or get outside for a run, but there are many ways to stay active and have fun at the same time.

UAA features an intramural and club sport department in the recreation department that aims to provide “a means of improving the quality of life, which allows all participants, regardless of degree of skill, an opportunity to develop new friendships, group loyalty, sportsmanship and the respect for all opponents and officials.”

The appeal to participate in intramurals is more than just staying in shape. Many find that it’s easier to stay active when involved with their peers. All sports are coed.

Mike Giles, a UAA student, enjoys the coed aspect.

“I think it’s good to have it coed because it’s more fun and a little bit more exciting,” Giles said.

The three current available sports, basketball, volleyball and soccer, all require a certain ratio of men to women both on the team and on the starting line up. This aspect prevents any discrimination and allows equal play.

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Another student, Molly Romero, went a step further than just meeting friends on the team and actually used intramurals to enjoy a new activity with her old friends.

“I started with just soccer, made some friends and then convinced some friends from high school to make a volleyball team. I used to play soccer in high school, so one day I randomly went into the office in [the Wells Fargo Sports Complex] and signed up for a random team,” Romero said.

It was beneficial in both ways for Romero: she made new friends on her soccer team and spent time with old friends on her volleyball team.

Now, going into her third year as a commuter student at UAA, Romero says that she believes this was the best way she could make friends while not living on campus.

Although Giles did meet people along the way, his initial reason to start intramural sports was different than Romero’s.

“The reason I got into it was to stay in shape while in college because I was no longer doing school-related sports competitively,” Giles said. “UAA definitely does provide a good intramural program. Like any program, it’s not perfect and has its flaws, but I think they do a good job, and I think it’s a pretty successful program.”

Despite the possible imperfections, Julie Weber, director of Intramurals/Club Sports, does her best to make sure the students are satisfied with their experience.

When Romero initially joined the program, Weber learned of her goals to make friends and assigned her to a team that had many other people with the same goal.

In addition, Weber helps organize the referees for intramurals, another great way to get involved in the program instead of playing on a team.

Junior UAA student Vanessa Aniteye has been working as a referee for intramurals for a year and sees the benefits of getting involved from an outside perspective.

“I think it’s a good way for students to get involved because they get to know people that study different things and not only the ones that have the same major,” Aniteye said. “It’s very social and teams meet up outside of the sport, too, sometimes.”

Since Aniteye already competes in track and field for UAA, she knows the benefits of participating in a sport. The German local wanted to be able to get involved in sports outside of her own and meet people as well.

“Sports are the best way for social integration. For example, getting international students to become involved with locals,” Aniteye said.

Since she used to play soccer, she usually referees for soccer games, but sometimes she gets the chance to help out at basketball and volleyball games, too. Aniteye explained that basketball is the most popular so the referees help out whenever it’s needed.

To learn more about intramural sports at UAA, visit the recreation tab in the UAA Athletics department at https://www.uaa.alaska.edu.