U-Rec staffing changes lend to the opportunity to give back 

By Hannah Rainford | Staff Writer

Whitworth University Recreation Center, Dec. 17, 2023, in Spokane, Wash. | Caleb Flegel/The Whitworthain

“I remember sitting in a senior seminar [class] with [Dr.] Kirk Westre in the spring of 2016. Westre told us it was important to find something we were both passionate and interested in. At the time, I did not know what that looked like for me and [it] was really frustrated. And now, nearly eight years later, I feel like I have found it,” reflected Whitworth University Recreation Center (U-Rec) manager and assistant track and field coach Courtney Fairhart.  

U-Rec staffing changes began a transition in the program’s upper-level management this fall, bringing new perspectives founded in a deep appreciation for those prior. 

“We are excited to continue to provide the programming of fitness, intramurals, climbing and outdoor recreation opportunities to our Whitworth community. Thanks to our well-seasoned student leaders and staff, these programs will continue to provide fun and transformational experiences to our members,” said Fairhart, assuring the stability of all current installments.

The program’s previous overseer, Todd Sandberg, is now shifting his focus toward ASWU work. U-Rec staff have taken measures to ensure that the U-Rec continues to run as it has in the past, thanks to expert mentorship which provided an ease in transition. “Our student staff is what truly makes the U-Rec come alive. I am thankful to work with such an amazing group of students,” said Fairhart.  

“I am thankful that in his transition to assistant dean, [Sandberg] is my supervisor, and I get to learn, grow, be guided and mentored by him with his unmatched experience and knowledge,” said Fairhart. “The fact that [Sandberg] was also a part of my academic and athletic experience while I was an undergraduate student here at Whitworth makes working with him now all the more special.”  

A former Whitworth student-athlete herself, Fairhart deeply resonates with both the challenges and gifts of fitness, seeking to provide access and opportunity for engagement in this way. “Being the manager of the U-Rec allows me to explore my passion for student development within the interests for sport, activity and recreation. What is even better is that I get to do it at a place that I love,” said Fairhart. 

Fairhart’s goal is to provide and cultivate transformational experiences in an environment for students to grow holistically, just as Whitworth and its people did for her throughout her time as a student. “To give back and be that figure for others now is really special and motivating,” said Fairhart.

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