Mentoring and leadership mix in Recreational Sports

Troy Snow, facilities and operations coordinator for Recreational Sports at Oregon State University, chats with student employee Luke Thomas, who is working at the counter of Dixon Recreation Center. Snow oversees 80 student employees and enjoys the mentorship aspect of his job. (photo: Theresa Hogue)

Troy Snow has a smile and a laugh for every student he passes at Dixon Recreation Center. That’s not surprising, since as the facilities and operations coordinator for Recreational Sports, he oversees 80 student employees, providing mentorship as well as giving them leadership opportunities.

“I love every minute of it, especially my interaction with students and making a small impact on who they are as individuals,” Snow says.

Student workers are in charge of many of the day-to-day operations of Dixon, and Snow supports and advises many of them.

“Our focus is to empower students,” Snow said. “We’re student focused and that really clicks with who I am. To see what they can accomplish is amazing.”

Snow, a native of Puyallup, Wash., came to OSU after graduating from Washington State University. He started working at Dixon as a graduate assistant, but eventually moved into a full time position with Recreational Sports. At first he split his time between sport clubs and facilities, before he landed his current job.

In addition to the regular operations at Dixon, his students are currently helping with two major projects on campus: the renovation of the turf fields to the west of Dixon and the renovation of the McAlexander Field House.

“The work was driven by students,” Snow said, and the projects will directly benefit students by improving recreational facilities on campus.

Although only a small percentage of the student workers Snow oversees will actually go on to a career in health or fitness, he believes the skills they’re learning on the job will translate into any career they pursue. Students participate in hiring other student workers, in supervising students, and can introduce new programs or ideas that are often adopted by the department.

One of Snow’s favorite parts about the work is the student-developed mentorship program now in place in Recreational Sports. Student supervisors are paired with new student workers to help them transition into the department, but the supervisors are also paired with administrators in order to receive advice and support. This two-way mentorship also benefits the participating administrators, Snow said, adding that he always feels he learns from his interactions with them.

Snow’s participation extends beyond the walls of Dixon. He recently became the Regional Representative for Region VI of the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). He is the first chair of the newly formed NIRSA Member Network, and has presented at national conferences.

His work with national organizations furthers two goals. It is a place to exchange ideas and advance recreational sports as a whole, but it’s also an opportunity for Snow to share the work being done at Oregon State.

“OSU is viewed as a leader in the field because of our tremendous students, my colleagues and our programs,” Snow said.

When students have the chance to attend conferences, they also realize that Oregon State has a strong reputation among other colleges, and he said they often return with a great pride of going to Oregon State and working in Recreational Sports

“Each one of them knows that they are a very integral part of what we’re trying to do,” Snow said.

~ Theresa Hogue

3 Responses to “Mentoring and leadership mix in Recreational Sports”

  1. Scott Lommers says:

    You, and the students you supervise, do a great job at Dixon. I never get anything but great service and attitude from the student workers there and I appreciate it very much.


  2. Ken Vance-Borland, Forest Ecosystems and Society says:

    Troy — Your servant leadership approach is clearly producing outstanding results for the students, your program, and the University. You are truly making a difference. Congratulations!

  3. Joey Jenkins, Department of Recreational Sports says:

    Troy has been the best mentor I have ever had and I have never met anyone else who cares more about the development of their staff.