CORVALLIS, OR -- To honor the founding of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) on Feb. 22, 1950, universities around the country celebrated National Recreational Sports & Fitness (NRSF) Day last month. In 1999, NIRSA members proclaimed Feb. 22 as a day for nationwide focus on the positive benefits of recreational sports, fitness and wellness.

Many schools planned weeklong events in honor of NRSF Day.

“We always celebrate Fitness Day all week, especially since it was on a Sunday this year,” says Katie White, coordinator of campus recreation for the University of Tampa (FL). “We had an 1980s theme all week — so it was Funky Fresh Fitness Week.”

The University of Tampa’s fourth annual NRSF Week activities included a hip hop exercise class with music by Paula Abdul to tie into the 1980s theme. About 55 people attended an aerobics striptease class that featured a choreographed chair routine, White says. In addition, the school hosted a fun run, an outdoor Spin class, a belly flop contest at its outdoor pool, and Iron Man and Iron Woman bench-pressing competitions. The rec center also handed out free healthy breakfast items on Monday and Tuesday, as well as T-shirts.

Fitness Day organizers at the University of Connecticut handed out about 1,550 T-shirts to students who worked out at the student recreation facility for NRSF Day. In addition to hosting student tournaments, the University of Connecticut also raised $100,000 with an 18-hour dance marathon called HuskyTHON.

"We had 530 students signed up to be dancers, but we had about 650 people attending the event, either as spectators, families that benefited from previous events or dancers," says Silvia Chan, associate director, Department of Recreational Services, University of Connecticut. “Our staff also helped by leading one of the hours with a Zumba demonstration.”

Proceeds of the HuskyTHON went to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, CT.

The student recreation center at California State-Fullerton hosted its third-annual NRSF Day by providing students and faculty with free facility usage for the day to raise awareness about the center’s offerings. The rec center staff highlighted its one-on-one personal training services, as well as its buddy training program and outdoor fitness boot camp. Cal State Fullerton students also received a free Subway sandwich, chips and a drink at the school’s rec center.

The Heskett Center at Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, gave out free guest passes to nonmembers on Feb. 23 to celebrate NRSF Day. It also hosted a sports trivia contest, had random prize drawings, a free cardio kickboxing class, free chair massages, a lunchtime basketball tournament and NIRSA bingo. It was the second year the school participated in the event.

The rec center staff at Boston University worked with WTBU, the school’s student-run radio station, to promote NRSF Day. Student DJs played upbeat workout music from the lobby of the rec center, says Jillian McNiff, assistant manager of marketing for the fitness and recreation center. In addition, the center offered free group fitness classes, such as beach body workout, cardio kickboxing and cardio step sessions.