Screeching shoes on court floors, clapping and shouting can be heard within the Wade King Student Recreation Center from the office of the new Intramural Coordinator, Western alumna Kirsten Schumacher.
Schumacher, 25, graduated from Western in 2013 with a major in community recreation. After receiving her graduate degree in sports management from Washington State University this year, Schumacher comes back into the Western fold ready to make a difference.
Schumacher wants to broaden the focus of campus recreation and help students enjoy sports without the major commitment of varsity sports or clubs.
“I think [sports] can do a lot of good things for people and that’s why I like working in sports,” Schumacher said. “I want to give students the opportunity to be involved in them.”
Schumacher wants students to be able to develop leadership skills through sports, especially intramurals.
As an incoming freshman, Schumacher didn’t plan on becoming a community recreation major, or even consider Western as one of her first choice schools.
While visiting Western during Western Preview, Schumacher made her decision to attend the university after seeing the lamps outside the Wade King Student Recreation Center light up the trees up in the arboretum against the night sky.
At that time, she wanted to be a chemistry teacher, but quickly decided she shouldn’t teach the topic.
“I took Chem 121 and got a C, I took Chem 122 and got another C and I was like, ‘Man, maybe I shouldn’t teach this,’” Schumacher said with a laugh. “First Cs of my life, maybe I should stop.”
Her roommate at the time was the one to recommend looking at the rec degree; Schumacher did and fell in love.
Schumacher worked as a sport club liaison at the rec center during her time as an undergrad. Her current boss, Assistant Director of Departmental Assessment and Sports Clubs Clark Cripps, was the person who initially got her interested in campus recreation.
“To come back and work under him now, how can I say no to that?” Schumacher asked.
Now Schumacher wants to broaden the scope past the intramural league by doing special events, teaming up with organizations to promote awareness for organizations, events and issues such as Breast Cancer Awareness, men’s health, disabilities, and Transgender Awareness Week.
“I’m excited to bring that to Western,” she said.
Another goal is to change the perspective of intramurals and expand their outreach. Schumacher wants people to know that the program is aimed toward everyone.
“Being an alumna in the position does help.” Schumacher said. “I can connect to my students a lot better, I truly know what they are going through because I did it three years ago.”
In the end, Schumacher knows what it’s like being a student at Western. Understanding the school culture is beneficial when making changes and still making them fit.
However, she still had to apply and interview for the job. She was up against about 65 other people for the position, Schumacher said.
College jobs and positions are incredibly competitive, but that didn’t stop her when she found out the intramural coordinator position was opening up.
“When I saw that I could come back, I came back,” Schumacher said..
The type of job that Schumacher is filling now tends to be viewed as a springboard to move onto other opportunities, but she said she will stay as long as the opportunities fit.