Category Archives: Testimonials

Spotlight on Former GA Leah Palazzo

LeahPortraitAs I look back on my assistantship, I wonder what Leah without RecWell will be like. Will she still live off post-it notes? Will her future students reply to her emails? Will she continue to add “#blessed” to almost everything? Jokes aside, working here has been a memorable, developmental, and rewarding experience for me.

Our student staff has been nothing short of remarkable. In addition to countless splendid interactions I have with student attendants, associates, and managers in Marketing, Outdoor Program, IMs and Sport Clubs, PFH, Golf, Wellness Connection, SRC Facilities, SRC Welcome Desk, and Aquatics, I’ve had the distinct honor of advising the Student Employee Board, working alongside not one, not two, but twelve student supervisors across the department! These fabulous humans each bring their own form of leadership to their roles, staying true to their convictions while complying with department policies. I have been immensely fortunate to work with such a diverse group of skills, interests, and aspirations, and I want every member of SEB to know how proud I have been to serve as their advisor.

Similarly, I have greatly enjoyed working with RecWell’s professional staff. I did not come to BGSU expecting to be treated with the respect and authority of a peer by senior staff, but I have been made to feel competent and qualified here. Working alongside these professionals has shaped the image of the practitioner I hope to become. Thank you, Thad and Susan, for always being bubbles of positivity and support. Thank you, Gary, for making me feel like each and every Friday email I sent was valued. Thank you, Lona, for showing me “less is more” (plus a bunch about ice, ice rinks, and ice skating) and for being a mentor, a teacher, and a friend.

Of course, I cannot reflect upon my enriching experience without mentioning the other graduate assistants in RecWell. If this department is a family, the GAs are siblings. The opportunity to learn, grow, and develop alongside other graduate students has been invaluable to not only my education but also the success of this department; separate, we have impressive specializations, but together, we are synergistic superstars trouncing ThunderCats, Power Rangers, and Captain Planet. My fellow GAs have done so much for me, and I would do anything for them.

I have a genuine appreciation for, enjoyment in, and devotion to this department. My experience as Student Programming and Leadership GA has included program coordination and facilitation, assessment, public speaking, collaboration, advising, committee participation and leadership, app implementation, incentive program management, and parade float design, construction, and operation.

I cannot express just how #blessed I feel to have been a part of RecWell!

RecWell Rewind – Dr. Steve Kampf Named Recreation and Wellness Director

Dr. Steve Kampf Recreation and Wellness DirectorDr. Steve Kampf was hired as the new director of the Department of Recreation and Wellness in July 2006.

Dr. Kampf received his Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance at Lock Haven University, his Masters in Sport Management at East Stroudsburg University, and his Ph.D. in Higher Education at the University of Buffalo.

Prior to accepting the position at Bowling Green State University, Dr. Kampf was the former director of Recreation and Wellness at SUNY Brockport and Kutztown University. In his former positions, he was used to smaller facilities and enrollment, and he knew it was time for a change when he decided to apply to Bowling Green State University. “I enjoyed that there was a larger staff and greater opportunities,” said Kampf. Along with his work in Recreation and Wellness, Dr. Kampf also served as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs.

One of Dr. Kampf’s greatest accomplishments at BGSU was the Student Recreation Center renovation project. “A thought turned into reality,” said Kampf. “We visited over 50 different institutions and it was a three to four year process.” He said his only worry during the project was current and future students thinking, “why did they do this?” Once the renovation was completed in 2014, Dr. Kampf saw the great amount of feedback received from members, which is when he knew the renovation was a success.

For more information on the History of Recreation and Wellness, visit our website.

Morganne’s Story

 Morganne Rodabaugh, B.A. in Communication (2014)
Student Supervisor – Aquatics (2012-14)

Every day I am reminded of the contributions RecWell has had on developing my lifelong goals.
In the Fall of 2011, I became a student employee for the Department of Recreation and Wellness. At the time, I did not anticipate the profound impact the department would have on my future. I have been a BGSU alumnus for over a year now, and every day I am reminded of the contributions RecWell has had on developing my lifelong goals.

I started as a lifeguard at the Student Recreation Center (SRC). A great aspect of the department is that it allows its employees to expand their leadership skills. I spent a few months as a lifeguard working my way up to a Crew Chief Lifeguard, Learn to Swim Instructor, and eventually holding the Aquatic Student Supervisor and Learn to Swim Coordinator position. In addition, I attained a Lifeguard Instructor certification allowing me to teach health and safety topics. Each position provided me with new learning experiences and unforgettable memories!

The two years I spent as the Aquatic Student Supervisor were the best years I had at Bowling Green State University. While it was challenging at times, I was able to develop as a leader, and I gained characteristics needed to succeed outside of college. As a Student Supervisor, I managed staff schedules, coordinated the Learn to Swim Program, and planned staff meetings, among multiple other responsibilities. The best part of it all was meeting all the wonderful people. Not only were the professional staff and student employees extraordinary people, but the members of the SRC have had an everlasting influence on me as well.

I have to also highlight the Student Development and Leadership meetings that the department provides for all employees. These are meetings employees can attend to meet other RecWell employees and strengthen their skills as an employee and student. If you are a RecWell student employee and you have not had a chance to attend one of these meetings, I recommend you attend. There is great food, awesome people, and RecBucks!

A great opportunity for all Student Supervisors is to take part in the Student Employee Board (SEB). During these meetings, I was able to collaborate with other Student Supervisors and learn more about the other areas of the department. The SEB provides yet another opportunity for students to hold leadership positions. During my final year as the Aquatic Student Supervisor, I was honored with the opportunity to co-plan and facilitate the End of the Year Banquet.

At this banquet, I was awarded the 2014 Student Supervisor of the Year award. I was beyond grateful for this acknowledgement because I knew I was among a well deserving group of student supervisors. I must give credit to my wonderful Aquatic family for their support and for allowing me to evolve in my position. I am grateful for the experience and for the people I have met. I want to say thank you to everyone at Recreation and Wellness for the best years of my life and for paving the path to my future. Continue to inspire others!

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Learn More About Aquatics

Ron Zwierlein’s Story

 Ron Zwierlein, Director – Department of Recreational Sports (1991-94)
Director – University Field House and Recreational Sports (1990-92)
Associate Director – Student Recreation Center (1984-91)

In April 2014 the Department of Recreation and Wellness honored Dr. Ron Zwierlein for his service by naming the “Male Student Employee of the Year” award in his honor. Below are statements and stories provided by former Department of Recreational Sports (now Department of Recreation and Wellness) colleauges that testify to Dr. Zwierlein’s character, commitment, and sense of humor.

Ron Zwierlein, Casey Back, Steve Kampf

2013-14 Recreation and Wellness Male Student Employee of the Year Award Recipient. (L to R: Dr. Ron Zwierlein, Casey Beck, Dr. Steve Kampf)

His dedication and service to BGSU is exemplary, and his contributions are countless in the many roles that he played.Congratulations to Ron for the occasion of naming the “Male Student Employee of the Year” in his honor. Certainly the qualifications and criteria for the award describe the attributes and qualities of Ron. His dedication and service to BGSU is exemplary, and his contributions are countless in the many roles that he played:

  • Undergraduate student as Freddie Falcon (maybe it was Freda!)
  • Head Swim Coach
  • Associate Director of the Student Recreation Center, then Director of Recreational Sports
  • Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Athletic Director

One of Ron’s strongest characteristics is that there is no such thing as a “short conversation” with Ron. He would always stop and talk with you, or have a lengthy conversation on the phone. He’d asked about you and what is going on in your life. He showed he cares and always had some good advice. He had a profound impact on all of the students who came in contact with him. And, he’d always remember the next time he talked with you.

Several colleagues have mentioned his sense of humor, which is very right on. He also was a practical joker too…which is my story:

Several BGSU colleagues went on an annual spring golf trip down by Columbus just before Memorial Day each year. 25-30 guys would go to a course that was owned by a former BGSU employee, so he took good care of us, and to save money he’d let us stay in the pro shop overnight rather than a hotel. So one year, I had my new air mattress all blown up and was very comfortable, more so than most who just brought sleeping bags…Ron included. So when I woke up in the morning, my back was killing me as all the air was out of the mattress….I looked and looked for a tear in the bottom. I glanced over to Ron and he was beside himself laughing and very proud of himself, as he confessed he opened the valve up after I fell asleep. He has that little kid quality inside himself…even today.

Gregory T. Jordan, Director
Dept. of Campus Recreation
Oakland University

Always 110% committed, always going above and beyond, always consistently out-performing, and always providing extraordinary customer service. This is just the way Ron Zwierlein is…  I have known Ron, or Dr. Z or simply “Z” for nearly 30 years now and what a fitting tribute to the quality of his character to name an outstanding student employee of the year in his honor.  First of all, the winning recipient of this award must know how to correctly say Ron’s last name (Z-W-I-E-R-L-E-I-N…), and then correctly spell his name. If they can accomplish those two tasks, then you can assess whether they meet the other criteria.

When I reviewed the necessary criteria to be worthy of this award, I thought about all of the things I learned from Ron. Always 110% committed, always going above and beyond, always consistently out-performing, and always providing extraordinary customer service. This is just the way Ron Zwierlein is…  And talk about a character that shines! When Dr. Z is present you know it. When the outstanding student of the year is on duty, you should know that too!

What I always appreciated and learned from “Z” is that you can enforce the rules, protect the mission, set the example, and do all of that with a smile and even (in Ron’s case), a sense of humor. All, outstanding qualities and all qualities that I assume the student employee of the year will possess.

You asked for a favorite story or memory that comes to mind, and after so many years there were many, but one which I feel is very appropriate and in many ways connected to this award is the following…

When my wife and I first moved to Bowling Green, and I was beginning my first campus recreation professional job, Ron and his wife, Cindy, invited us over for dinner. They had a very nice home and 3small children. When they showed us around their home, we got to the garage and I noticed yellow and black caution tape on the floor about 2 feet from the wall on all three sides (except where the garage door opens and closes). I also noticed all the bicycles, outside toys, lawn equipment, etc. all neatly placed “outside” the yellow and black tape, never allowing anything to get too close to their cars. I asked Ron, “what’s up with the tape?” Having no children at the time, he proceeded to educate us that when you have children you have to have order, rules, places for everything––generally, keep everything organized.  Isn’t that exactly what the student employee of the year should be doing? Keeping everything organized (neat, orderly, enforce the rules)… I can clearly see the irony! And what a fitting award for an outstanding student because the way Ron Zwierlein is at home was exactly what he was like at work––organized in everything and in every way––excellence!

Scott Levin, Director
Recreational Services
Georgia State University

In my four years at Bowling Green, Ron demonstrated outstanding leadership, a forward thinking vision, an appreciation of student development and team work.I have known Ron Z since 1986. I could tell the minute I ended the interview that he would be a great person to work for. He had a warm smile, great sense of humor and really showed his commitment to the BGSU program. In my four years at Bowling Green, Ron demonstrated outstanding leadership, a forward thinking vision, an appreciation of student development and team work. Ron role modeled strong organization and communication skills to students. Ron was the perfect coach. He demanded commitment but allowed students to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. Ron was always recognizing staff for their positive actions and really spent time to know the staff on a personal and professional level.

My most memorable story, that I still tell people, goes to Ron’s humor and his ability to laugh with you….

I was 8 months pregnant and still teaching water aerobics in the pool. Ron and I would laugh how it must look with me teaching with my big belly and trying to do the moves on the deck. I finally decided to start doing the aerobics in the pool. One night, as I was teaching in the pool, Ron made an announcement over the intercom that we had a blue whale in the pool so please evacuate immediately. Needless to say, my class had a good laugh, and thank goodness no one took him seriously.

Ron’s ability to establish relationships makes moments like the above memorable.

Tamra Garstka, Director
Sun Devil Fitness Complex
Tempe Arizona State University

Sandy Wiechman’s Story

 Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator – BGSU Recreation and Wellness
Personal Training Client (2015)

It has been hard to break the “no pain, no gain” mentality I learned in the 80’s, but the trainers are very patient and helpful. 
Having been in a sedentary working environment for over 30 years, I had become lazy and didn’t do any form of regular exercise. I would walk, but never push myself to be any better. A prior place I lived had an indoor pool and an exercise area – for free!! Did I use it – heck no!

Having the opportunity to work with the Department of Recreation and Wellness at BGSU was frightening at first, but it has been the BEST thing that has ever happened to me! Everyone is so supportive and encouraging every step of the way on my journey to becoming the “best Sandy I can be”. This has included (includes) healthy eating programs, re-programming my brain to stop every hour and stretch or walk away from my desk, and to ENJOY exercise! Exercise has never been enjoyable for me. It has been hard to break the “no pain, no gain” mentality I learned in the 80’s, but the trainers are very patient and helpful. It is great to be instructed on new techniques to get the most benefit from my workout, and I look forward to hopping on a bike, elliptical, or my favorite, to jump in Andrews Pool with my floatation belt and water weights. Getting to the age where your muscles and joints don’t always agree with how you intend to move, I’ve avoided weight bearing exercises as, let’s face it, it just hurts and doesn’t move that way! Learning about different ways to stretch and target muscle areas with exercise bands for the most benefit has been exciting and produces great results.

The best compliment I can give to Jade and the other trainers at the SRC, is a quote from my doctors, “Sandy WHAT are you doing?? You look great and your numbers are amazing!” There is NO better feeling than that!

I’ve got a long way to go, but I know with Jade’s encouragement and education, I will be the best Sandy I can be!!


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