September 8, 2016

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Invests in Student Retention with Unveiling of New Turf Field

Pictured, from left to right, are Drew Devore, coordinator of Competitive Sports and Risk Management; Michael Wilcox, a graduate assistant with Campus Recreation; Maya Mapp, president of the Student Government Association; Dr. Kelli Brown, interim president of Valdosta State University; Dr. Vince Miller, vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students; Shawn Phippen, director of Campus Recreation; and Bill Kent with Innovate Engineering Solutions LLC. 

turf field aerial

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University recently unveiled a new artificial turf-covered Student Recreation Sports Complex Multipurpose Field.

Located behind Centennial Hall at the intersection of Sustella Avenue and Mary Street, the Student Recreation Sports Complex Multipurpose Field was constructed in response to faculty research into how intramural sports impact student retention. Dr. James Archibald, a professor in VSU’s Department of Curriculum, Leadership, and Technology and former interim vice president of the Division of Student Affairs, found that students who played intramural sports were less likely than their non-participating peers to drop out or transfer to another institution of higher education — meaning the students who participated in recreational activities were more likely to graduate.   

With the university committed to supporting initiatives designed to enhance student retention, Archibald shared his findings with the president and other key campus administrators, who offered their support. This led to VSU’s Facilities Planning team designing and overseeing construction of the field, which took about five weeks and $365,000 to complete.

“The cooperation and collaboration between faculty and staff really helped push this project through to fruition,” shared Shawn Phippen, director of Campus Recreation at VSU. “This project proves that scholarly research can and does make a difference in student lives and shows how we can accomplish amazing things when everyone works together to support our students.”

VSU’s intramural sports program provides an opportunity for all students, faculty, and staff to participate in organized recreational activities. Structured leagues and tournaments are offered in an array of sporting activities. Those scheduled on the new Student Recreation Sports Complex Multipurpose Field evenings this fall include bubble soccer, outdoor soccer, slip-n-slide kickball, cornhole, and flag football.

VSU also offers a wide range of instructional and competitive athletic opportunities through club sports like rugby, shooting, table tennis, bass fishing, swimming, quidditch, lacrosse, and ultimate Frisbee. These activities emphasize student leadership, organization, and team management, and while not all club sports teams play on an outdoor field, those that do will now have the option of using the new Student Recreation Sports Complex Multipurpose Field.

All VSU students will have access to the Student Recreation Sports Complex Multipurpose Field during open recreation hours. Student organizations will be able to reserve the area for special events. 

“Student are very excited about the new field because it allows for us to have less games rained out due to the unpredictable weather in South Georgia,” said Drew Devore, coordinator of Competitive Sports and Risk Management at VSU.

Artificial turf is known for its all-weather properties, zero recovery time, and ability to endure heavy use. Phippen said that this will prove to be a definite advantage for VSU’s active intramural sports and club sports programs this semester and for years to come.

“Last year our flag football season had several rained out games,” he said. “This was beginning to hurt participation. This new field is going to be great for our students.”

Contact Shawn Phippen at (229) 333-0538 or to learn more about campus recreation activities at VSU.

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