David Dunham was the director of club sports at UC Davis earlier this year when he took a group of students to the job board at a national conference of intramural sports organizers. He meant to show them how to look for jobs – not find one for himself.
UC Merced was just too good an opportunity to pass up, he remembers.
Now, as UC Merced’s director of recreation, Dunham says the best thing about his new program is that it’s not really his.
I could come in and pull a standard intramural program from another school off the shelf and say, ‘This is how it’s going to be,’ he says. But we want to leave a lot to the students themselves. That’s what’s so exciting – they have the opportunity to shape what’s going on. It’s going to be an exciting year for them coming into something brand-new. Intramural sports programs will grow largely under student direction, with Dunham’s guidance.
Students might wonder what else they’ll be doing for fun once they arrive in Merced. Dunham has answers.
There are a lot of recreation opportunities for us here. Yosemite is the obvious one, but all around we have rivers for rafting and kayaking, places for camping and skiing. The outdoor opportunities are almost limitless in every season, he says. His office is planning day trips to Yosemite, San Francisco, and other popular attractions.
Dunham also enthusiastically mentions an agreement with a local fitness center, Millennium Sports Club.
Students can become members for only $35 per semester, he says. They’ll have access to the pool, sauna, weight rooms, racquetball courts, gym and group fitness classes. The arrangement is important, as UC Merced’s Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center is not scheduled to open until next year. Faculty and staff members will also be able to purchase memberships at a discount through payroll deduction, if they choose.
We want to help students maintain their active habits and stay healthy while also having fun and staying busy during their college experience, Dunham says. The mission of Campus Recreation is key to that focus.