RecWell Story University of Minnesota Twin Cities Recreation and Wellness

You're Welcome Here

Our mission is to serve all students and the greater University community by enriching the campus experience and encouraging lifelong wellbeing. We are driven to develop leaders, foster supportive relationships, and inspire active living through recreation and wellness.

Our Goals

  • Model a welcoming and supportive environment by promoting a culture of inclusion, respect, and wellbeing through education and shared experiences.
  • Challenge personal and professional growth while encouraging leadership development.
  • Connect and collaborate with partners to support academic and co-curricular success.
  • Provide opportunities and activities that mobilize active, healthy engagement in programs, services, and facilities to inspire lifelong wellbeing.

Student Employees

Students are the center of everything we do at RecWell. We take pride in being the largest employer of students on campus and provide a variety of opportunities for any student to work in wellness.

Impact on Student Success

  • Largest employer of students at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • 800+ Student Employees
  • $2,000,000+ paid back to students in wages
  • 65% of operational fee is paid back to students

Engaging The UMN Community

Whoever you are, there's a place for you at RecWell. With locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, RecWell offers a variety of memberships to students, faculty, staff, and community partners.

Our Membership

  • 68% of undergraduate students use RecWell facilities, programs and services
  • 53% of graduate students utilize RecWell
  • 20-25% of faculty and staff hold memberships
  • 6,000 patrons served daily


Nine facility locations make up RecWell across Minneapolis and St. Paul. We are committed to providing high quality locations that serve a diverse audience in the Twin Cities.

Our Locations

  • Recreation and Wellness Center
  • St. Paul Gym
  • Cooke Hall
  • Fieldhouse
  • URW Sports Field Complex
  • West Bank Fields
  • St. Paul Fields
  • Les Bolstad Golf Course
  • Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center

Numbers to Note

  • 1,273,652 visitors in 2016-2017
  • $2.5 million in fitness equipment added in 2013 expansion
  • 320 cardio machines
  • 397,416 square feet at URWC and Aquatic Center
  • 26,280 square feet of strength training space
  • 18,387 square feet of cardio space
  • 517 special events hosted = 78,445 attendees
  • 10,731 semester/annual lockers rented
  • 10,412 daily lockers rented


What gets you moving and living a healthy lifestyle? From Intramural championships to an outdoor trip in China, We strive to provide programs and services that meet the variety of interests that the University Of Minnesota community has.

Something For Everyone

  • Aquatics
  • Certifications and Trainings
  • Fitness
  • Wellness
  • Handball + Racquetball + Squash
  • Intramurals
  • Golf
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Sport Clubs
  • Youth Programs — Summer Camp and Learn to Swim
  • Adaptive Programming (Coming 2019)

By the Numbers

  • 62,450 open rec aquatic participants
  • 2,650 Learn to Swim participants
  • 1,224 intramural sport teams = 6,390 participants and 3,138 games played
  • 24 sport clubs = 1,139 club members
  • 226 week long youth camp sessions = 2,994 campers
  • 3,713 group fitness pass holders = 115 classes weekly
  • 70 outdoor trips = 492 trip participants
  • 1,450 outdoor rentals
  • 27,159 rounds of golf = 12.5% increase from 2016

Mission Driven Service and Partnerships

Good partnerships with the Minneapolis community can help create new wellness opportunities. RecWell is consistently looking for new partners that align with our mission and support co-curricular student success.

Outreach Initiatives

Project Positivity and Project Gratitude — In partnership with KIND® these week long campaigns focused on appreciating yourself and others that are important in your life. These campaigns had an emphasis on social wellness and the importance of self-care and positive relationships.

PAWS (Pet Away Worry and Stress) — Teaming up with Boynton Health, these sessions feature registered therapy animal teams—including dogs, bunnies, chickens and other therapy animals. PAWS began having weekly session in RecWell at the start of 2017.

Beyond Walls Urban Squash — Using squash as an outlet, Beyond Walls supports students in finding and graduating from their best-fit post-secondary pursuit. Students in 6th through 12th grade learn the fast-paced game of squash, improve their academic performance, plan and lead community engagement projects, and participate in the Beyond Walls mentor program.

A Focus On The Future

The wellness needs of students is constantly changing with new fitness trends and a renewed focus on mental health. RecWell is always keeping an eye on the future and has established new projects and strategic plans to help address the changing landscape of wellness.

Moving Forward

Social Wellness Initiative — Launched in 2016, the SWI examines policies, procedures, communications, staff involvement and ownership, training and education, and recruitment and staffing practices that may ultimately transcend the walls of the recreation centers and create a lasting and meaningful impact for global citizenship.

Mental Health Training and Awareness — Additional training opportunities for our professional and student staff, such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) will make the RecWell staff equipped to deal with a variety of issues.

Adaptive Programming — RecWell is committed to creating an environment where individuals of all abilities are welcomed. Our facilities, programs, and services reflect inclusion and equity. Adaptive programming such as wheelchair basketball helps work towards a more inclusive environment.

Risk Management — Renewed and comprehensive approach to safety through a full staff approach. Training and in-services regularly scheduled along with commitment to health and safety certifications.

Brand Identity and Advancement — How can we better tell the story of recreation and wellness? A renewed internal focus on marketing, communications, assessment, and establishing a strategic plan will help map out the future of RecWell and how we engage students. Some element of this process include:

  • Establishing a consistent long-term brand
  • More "story telling" vs. advertising and selling
  • Marketing staff restructure

Professional and Student Staff Development

RecWell is dedicated to providing ongoing education and training to develop career readiness and preparation skills. This includes a commitment to conferences, workshops, and educational opportunities. A student grant program provides funding for student professional development in a variety of career fields.

Staff Appreciation — In April, 2018 RecWell hosted its first student appreciation event highlighting the success of our students and dedication to the department and the university. The event not only showed support to the student employees, but also built a shared connection and dedication to serving the University community.

Budget and Challenges Ahead

Facilities — The redesign and installation of air handlers in the Aquatic Center are the most pressing and costly concern (estimated at $12.5 million). This project will address the poor air ventilation that is a health and safety issue and cannot be delayed.

Upgrades to the Fieldhouse are planned to begin in April 2019. These upgrades will give the Fieldhouse a much needed face-lift and provide a better experience for users.

Minimum Wage Increase — The minimum wage increase statute passed in 2015 by the Minnesota State Legislature continues to have major financial impact on the department. Over 60% of the Operational Fee funds URW student wages. Any large scale increase to minimum wage increases the likelihood of an increased fee need.

Staff Recruitment, Retention, and Support — Studies and tier structuring of staff compensation has begun to determine amounts of funding needed to address significant comp ratio deficits. This process will help address new hire salaries that are not conducive to retention and lead to poor morale. The end result will allow URW to be more competitive in recruitment and have a more diverse candidate pool.

Points of Pride

University of Minnesota Communication Forum Award Winners — Best Interactive Design, RecWell Story. Best Multi-Page Print Design, YP Summer Programs Catalog.

Hosted the NIRSA Region V Conference and Student Lead-On with over 175 recreation professionals and students from across the midwest.

Opened new location for the URW Sports Field Complex and Dome.

Recreation Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) Committee was established with the goal of creating a welcoming and inclusive culture within RecWell, where everyone belongs. The goals and activities of REDI are aligned with the belief that equity, diversity, and inclusion are foundational elements to achieve our mission, carry out our vision, and be true to our values.

IM Sports partnered with Housing & Residential Life, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Special Olympics Minnesota, U of M Special Olympics Club, and UMPD to host 30 teams and 487 players in the annual Homecoming Flag Football Tournament including a Unified Sports Division.

Outdoor staff members Bryan Karban and Mitch Hoffman were elected to Board of Director positions for the Association for Outdoor Recreation (AORE). In addition, student employee Tabor Tang was awarded a student scholarship by AORE to attend the annual conference in Roanoke, VA.

Launched "Project Positivity" week as part of the Social Wellness Initiative, highlighting collaborative relationships with KIND bar, NutritiousU, and PAWS.

Secured sponsorships with Google Allo ($20,000) and KIND bar ($15,000 value of product and funds), with funding directed towards student development, special event programming, and social wellness initiatives.

More than 2,600 freshman attended "Night at the Rec" as part of Welcome Week.

Give to the Max campaign for the Youth Program Campership Drive saw an increase of 72% in donations from 2016.

Women's Rugby competed in the Women's Collegiate Fall Championships in Lemont, Illinois. The Sailing Club also competed in the Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association Fall Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, placing 3rd overall with 46 points.

Both Men's and Women's Soccer Clubs competed in the NIRSA Championship Series in Phoenix, Arizona. Both advanced to the quarterfinal round.

Student Handball Club hosted the 22nd Annual Fall Classic Handball Tournament with over 75 participants. The club organized and operated the entire event and raised over $1,500.

Our Numbers in Infographics

*Data was gathered from July 1, 2016 — June 30, 2017.

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