By Samantha Smith
Throughout October, Youngstown State University’s Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center partnered up with the Henry Stambaugh Golf Course to let students participate in some physical activity during these virtual times.
The rec center held the event, Pars for Penguins, in the past, but only for one day. This year, they extended it to a whole month.
Ryan McNicholas, associate director of YSU’s rec center, explained how this idea was created.
“After a long discussion, we talked about it and we’ve done some collaborative efforts with the city of Youngstown. I’m a pretty avid golfer myself, so I like the idea of students joining the game and being again physically active,” he said.
McNicholas went on to say, “We thought because of the proximity for campus, the discount on pricing and how many students I hear talking about golfing, it’d be a good program to incorporate.”
Dawn Turnage, parks and recreation director of the Henry Stambaugh Golf Course, stated what the golf course and the rec center were going to provide for students during the pandemic.
“We had to think outside the box. We could no longer provide the big picnic-type style where we would have hot dogs and a raffle and prizes like that,” she said. “What can we do outside the box that will still provide something for the students? [We want] the opportunity to come up and enjoy, since we were able to open under the CDC guidelines and our local health department.”
Turnage also explained the relationship between the golf course and YSU was developed to offer students an opportunity to get away from campus and spend time outside.
The rec center will provide this program again in the future for students, McNicholas said. Because of the weather throughout October and the COVID-19 pandemic leading to decreased involvement, he hopes to have the program again in the spring and possibly in the summer next year to get more students to join.
Now that the program is over, McNicholas and the rec center staff will review and evaluate the success to determine if Pars for Penguins will be a month-long event in the future.
Some improvements McNicholas would like to make include expanding marketing and using more promotive options to get more students’ attention.
“[I’m] trying to get the word out there because I would love to have all 10,000 students or 11,000 students at YSU go up there and golf. I know not everyone’s a golfer, but just to even walk the course would be a good physical activity,” he said.
Pars for Penguins was created to give students something more than just virtual options while still staying safe during the pandemic.