RecWell Story University of Minnesota Twin Cities Recreation and Wellness

You're Welcome Here

Seek. Build. Embody.

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
  • 750+ 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
  • 4,200 non-student 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
  • Field House
  • URW Sports Field Complex
  • West Bank Fields
  • St. Paul Fields
  • Les Bolstad Golf Course
  • Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center

Numbers to Notice

  • 1,059,840 visitors to URWC*
  • 124,811 visitors to St. Paul Gym*
  • 16,288 visitors to the URW Sports Field Complex*
  • 355 days open out of the year — Expanded weekend hours implemented in Fall 2018.
  • $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
  • 14 acres of field space (13th out of 14 Big Ten schools)
  • 321 special events hosted = 60,000+ attendees
  • 7,000+ semester/annual lockers rented
  • 10,000+ daily lockers rented

*Data gathered from July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019.

Programs & Services

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 - NEW in 2019

By the Numbers*

  • 63,000+ open recreation aquatic participants
  • 2,920 Learn to Swim participants
  • 1,100 intramural sport teams = 5,957 participants and 3,258 games played in 20 IM sports
  • 26 sport clubs = 1,272 club members
  • 229 week long youth camp sessions = 2,985 campers
  • 3,635 group fitness pass holders = 85-100 classes weekly
  • 90+ outdoor trips = 474 trip participants
  • 1,821 outdoor rentals
  • 21,207 rounds of golf

*Data gathered from July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019.

Making a Connection in A Digital World

The front door is Recreation and Wellness is no longer a physical entrance. It's embedded online in our digital footprint. Technology continues to change how we connect with students and patrons of RecWell. Our digital footprint is important in getting people informed and give them the resources necessary to be engaged in their personal wellness.

Social Media

  • 2,000+ Instagram followers
  • 5,500+ Facebook followers
  • 2,800+ Twitter followers

Website Analytics*

  • 983,280 pageviews
  • 1 minute 59 seconds = average time spent on site
  • 51.1% male vs 48.9% female
  • 36.55% ages 25-34
  • 31.19% ages 18-24
  • 16.10% ages 35-44
  • 9.70% ages 45-54
  • 4.64% ages 55-64
  • 1.82% ages 65+
  • 127,268 access website on a desktop computer
  • 95,631 access website on a mobile device
  • 6,120 access website on a tablet device

Top 5 Page Visits

  • Home Page = 201,506
  • Facility Hours + Schedules = 135,936
  • Group Fitness = 121,637
  • Pool Hours = 58,195
  • Memberships = 40,252
  • ** Youth Programs = Jumps to #2 in February - March when Summer Camp registration opens

*Data gathered from July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019.

Mission Driven Partnerships and Strategic Direction

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.

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.

Courage Kenny and Special Olympics — Collaboration with our adaptive community came to the forefront in 2018 with the addition of an Adaptive Sports Expo, Unified Intramural Events, and a continuing relationship with these organizations. These relationships have led to the launch of our Adaptive Series in 2019.

Building a Strategic Vision

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. Through this process a new brand campaign was launched in Fall 2018 called "You're Welcome Here: Seek. Build. Embody."

Senior Leadership Addition — The financial impact we have on the student experience is always a consideration. It's important that we limit the reliance on student fees, while continuing to offer quality facilities, programming, and services. A new senior leadership position that focuses on business and operational efficiencies will help build a strategic plan for the future and generate revenue outside of student fees.

A Focus on the Future of Wellness

The wellness needs of students is constantly changing with new fitness trends, programming opportunities, 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. Through this initiative the REDI (Recreational Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Committee was formed.

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.

Mental Health Training and Awareness — Additional training opportunities for our professional and student staff, such as Student Supervisor Mental Health Training 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. In the Spring of 2019 our new adaptive series launched featuring wheelchair basketball, adaptive climbing, goalball, and sitting volleyball

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.

Massage Therapy — A new service of massage therapy was added to the Minneapolis Recreation and Wellness Center in Fall of 2018. This is a service that could serve as a revenue generator while also continuing our efforts to provide a holistic wellness experience.

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.

Professional Development — Developing our department and the professional staff help serve the students and patrons more successfully. This past year, the RecWell staff attended numerous conferences, workshops, and other opportunities to continue personal and professional development.

Budget and Challenges Ahead

Facilities — The redesign and installation of air handlers in the Aquatic Center is scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2019 (estimated at $12.5 million). This project will address the poor air ventilation that is a health and safety issue and cannot be delayed. This project will help the Aquatic Center continue to host high quality events.

Upgrades to the Fieldhouse are planned to begin in April 2019 (estimated $7.5 million). These upgrades will give the Fieldhouse a much needed face-lift and provide a better experience for users with new siding and flooring.

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 65% of the operational fee funds URW student wages. Any large scale increase to minimum wage increases the likelihood of an increased fee need.

Utility Costs — Multi-year increases in utilities have led to a deficit close to $400,000. Utility costs are "estimates" and make budget forecasting challenging from year to year.

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

2019 Willam N. Wasson Student Leadership & Academic Award winner: Sarah Heemstra, Senior RecWell Employee

Sarah Heemstra was accepted into the 2019 Women's Sport Leadership Academy (WSLA)

J. Michael Dunn Pre-conference Education Scholarship recipient: Rahul Rajan, Minneapolis Facilities and Risk Management Coordinator

2019 NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facility Award - URW Sports Field Complex

2019 NIRSA Creative Excellence Award - Best Programming Publication: Youth Programs Catalog (Lana Schauer, Venessa Fiedler, & Mark Joekel)

2,290+ student attendees at the Night at RecWell event, hosted as part of Welcome Week

1st Alumni Fitness Night Event hosted in January, 2018 with 45+ alumni participants

Group Fitness introduced Body Pump, which introduced participants to a new high intensity program and provided instructors a new certification option

Partnered with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and Athletics to host Football 101 at TCF Stadium. This event introduced Flag Football and Gopher Spirit to a large audience of international students at the start of school.

Our Numbers in Infographics

*Data gathered from July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018.