Hi everyone, Taylor here,
I like to consider myself an athlete, so I was thrilled to find I was interviewing Silvia Chan, our Associate Director of Operations at UConn’s Recreational Services. I have spent much time at UConn’s Greer Fieldhouse doing fitness work outs, but it was interesting to see what happens behind the scenes of all things recreational from Silvia’s perspective.
First, you’re probably wondering, what is Recreational Services? At UConn, the Recreational Department serves the student population by providing opportunities for them to explore healthy activities. There are ‘drop in’ opportunities at the Guyer Gym and Greer Fieldhouse, usage of the fitness equipment at the Student Recreational Facility, intramural games, fitness classes with our BodyWise program, climbing at the climbing center, or taking advantage of the Outdoor Adventure Center. “We are here 18 hours for most days of the week, so there should be no reason that any student can’t benefit from and enjoy our services!”, explained Silvia.
Now, how did Chan get involved with Recreation as a career? Chan immigrated to the United States from Brazil in her junior year of high school. She usually surprises Brazilian students in the student recreational facilities (SRF) with her fluent Portuguese. Chan received her Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies from Stony Brook University as well as her Masters in Sports Administration from Adelphi University. Choosing to start working for the Rec. Department in her freshman year helped her pursue Recreation as a career in her junior year.
Beginning as a volleyball referee, Chan felt right at home with the Recreation Dept. “I loved the people that I worked with, so I continued refereeing other sports.” After her first year, Chan was promoted to a supervisor and continued to get more assignments after that. After Chan graduated she was able to receive a graduate assistant-ship at Adelphi in Intramurals for their Recreation Department and has most of her Master’s paid for! Chan has worked at Princeton and Old Dominion Universities since graduation, but most importantly, she has been at UConn for 17 years!!
On a daily basis, Chan takes care of staffing problems, issues with the facilities, (including our pool, about 100 pieces of cardio equipment, as well as two weight rooms), comments and complaints from patrons, in addition to ordering equipment for the facility. Silva’s day usually lasts about 10 hours because of the valuable interactions she has with patrons and the student staff. Silvia says, “The highlights of my job are the interactions with our student staff. I do enjoy seeing them develop into contributing citizens and leaders in their community. We have several students that go on into the recreation professor and become our colleagues. It is gratifying to see their journey. Seeing our young student staff matire into successful professionals makes the job priceless! We even had several students meet their spouses here. I love getting their wedding announcements!”