The newly formed Seasider Sports and Activities Department, formerly BYU-Hawaii Intramurals, is expanding the sports it offers and hours of operation in order to engage more students, said Brandyn Akana, the Seasider Sports and Activities Senior Manager.
“We are planning on providing a robust program that engages students,” commented President John S. Tanner.
Debbie Hippolite Wright, vice president of Student Development and Services said, “We are excited at the development of the Seasider Sports and Activities program and the enthusiastic response the program is receiving from students.”
According to a PowerPoint provided by Hippolite Wright, “Sports and Activities will reflect the unique international flavor of the student body and campus community.”
According to the presentation, the President’s Council hopes to achieve this by improving facilities, increasing the variety of sports, providing more opportunities for volunteers and increased training in the sports. They hope these initiatives will increase the popularity of Seasider Sports with a goal of 800 students participating in intramural programs.
“Our vision is for the BYUH campus to be one that is active and participates in all of our activities,” said Akana. “We look forward to building a sense of belonging and connection on campus.”
Seasider Sports Student Manager Mason Baird, a junior from Washington majoring in business finance, explained, the President’s vision is allowing them to change and improve intramural sports.
“It’s great it’s been a priority. It’s rare to have an opportunity where you get to take your own ideas and put them to work so it’s going to be great,” said Baird. “This is the President’s Council coming to us and saying we want to make intramurals a priority. We want to make it comparable to BYU-Idaho. We want to make it a great program.”
BYUI went through a similar transition period after the sporting programs were terminated. The school now has a strong intramurals program with recreational and competitive leagues with many different sports, according the BYUI website.
Baird explained how intramural employees had discussed ways to improve the program in the past but never had the opportunity due to limited resources.
“Because Athletics was cut we felt this was the time for us to really make some good changes,” said Baird.
With the end of BYUH Athletics the Cannon Activities Center and Old Gym’s schedules were much more open allowing Baird and his team to expand the hours they could offer free play and also the numbers of sports.
With the introduction of multiple divisions within the individual sports for the Fall Semester, Baird hopes the games will be less like organized pick-up games and more like activities “for people to come watch and enjoy and hang out.”
Leagues will be more accessible to all students with a new sign-up form. The new form allows individuals to sign up for sports as opposed to the old system, which required students to sign-up as complete teams, according to Baird.
He is excited about the effects the changes will have on campus and community life.
“It’s going to make campus more alive and more unified. It’s going to be more spiritual because we will have less problems with people and it’s going to be a more fun environment.”
Student attendance to free play activities increased over the summer as Baird and his team implemented extended hours, a more consistent schedule and opened their doors to non-student community members.
“We got a really good turn out,” said Baird ecstatically. “It took a little while to get it moving, but by the middle of the summer we had people showing up to every sport, which means we are reaching different crowds of people. One day we had 150 students participating in sports at one time.”
While traditionally popular sports on campus such as volleyball, touch rugby and basketball were well attended, the Seasiders Sports staff was pleasantly surprised by the interest in badminton.
“Badminton was one where I didn’t expect it to be super popular but sometimes we would have 30 or 40 students trying to play badminton,” said Hunter Jensen, a sophomore from California majoring in exercise science.
Baird said, “In the past we used to tuck it away on a Monday night and we didn’t advertise it or market it at all. One worker would be there to give them some stuff and a few dedicated players would attend.
“It was busy in the gym and so now we want to take that to our open gyms and then to our division play and make the experience great for our badminton players. It’s not a very popular sport on the mainland so it doesn’t get a lot of hype from our mainland students, but for the international students it was really popular.”