University Recreation Finds Positive Relationship Between Facility Use and Freshman Success

FAYETTEVILLE Ark – University Recreation users continue to see their academic and co-curricular experience enhanced through important programs and facilities. Positive relationships identified among the 2017-18 freshman cohort UREC users were higher GPAs and retention rates. This indicates that students who use UREC facilities perform better academically while attending the University of Arkansas.

To gain access to UREC facilities, students must swipe their ID card at facility entrances. Student entrance scans to UREC facilities from the 2017-18 school year were matched with data such as user rate, retention, and GPA. Nearly 86 percent of the freshman cohort used UREC facilities at least once within the academic year. Additionally, the freshman to sophomore year retention rate for freshmen who used UREC facilities was 86.2 percent; much higher than that of the non-users at 77 percent.

"The success students and the University see through higher GPAs and retention rates speaks volumes of the vital services and facilities operated by UREC," said Jeremy Battjes, director of University Recreation. "Collegiate recreation programming and facilities are critical to a co-curricular experience for University of Arkansas students. We look forward to finding additional methods to integrate wellbeing experiences into student's lives."

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of cardiorespiratory exercise per week. ACSM identified 20-60 minutes of high intensity exercise three times a week as a way to help achieve that target. Students who used UREC facilities sixty times or more likely average 2-3 visits a week throughout the year, which is a healthy balance and step in the right direction toward achieving this recommendation. These students had an average cumulative GPA of 3.32 compared with the non-user average cumulative GPA of 2.96. Additionally, students who visited the facilities at least once also had a higher cumulative GPA than students who never visited UREC facilities. The data demonstrate that UREC plays a role in academic success.

"UREC use is associated with on-campus housing, parent college completion, and other pre-UREC characteristics that predict persistence at the University, but even when we compare these UREC users to apparently similar non-users, we find that users' retention rates are significantly higher," said Jesse Delaney, director of student success analysis for the office of student success.

"It has been exciting to partner with the Office of Student Success when reviewing this data and brainstorming how UREC could further support student success," said Erin Butler, assistant director of assessment and staff development. "This semester UREC staff are teaching a themed section of EDHP 1012: Effective College Learning that focuses on health and wellness through an immersion into UREC facilities and programs. And we hope to teach similarly themed sections of University Perspectives in the Fall."

University Recreation continues to encourage the entire U of A community to take advantage of the numerous services and programs offered to improve one's overall health and wellness. To learn more about what UREC offers and how to get more involved, please visit urec.uark.edu.

Contacts

Erin Butler , assistant director
University Recreation
479-575-2662, erinb@uark.edu

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