Krista Smith is Associated Students, Inc (ASI)’s brand new Director of Recreation, as of August 2012. She is passionate about exercise and recreation and is excited to incorporate those passions into the new Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex (BRIC) project, set to open in Fall 2014.
Tell me about your new role as Director of Recreation.
I am here to support the daily operations of ASI’s Campus Recreation department, but my bigger role is the BRIC project.
Can you tell us where the construction of the BRIC is at?
The project is wrapped in between Darlene May and Kellogg Gym. We are currently in the process of Phase I and Phase II overlap. It’s a big space: 165,000 square feet, so it takes up a big footprint right now. It’s right there in the hub of athletics and the new University Housing [the Residential Suites] and directly across from the Bronco Student Center and the Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers, which are the critical components of the student experience outside the classroom, so I can’t imagine a better location.
Do you have a favorite memory with ASI so far?
When I first started, I had two bags full of swag. I was so pumped. I got sweatshirts, shirts and reusable bottles. It was fantastic how welcomed I felt. I told all my friends and family, you have to see all this cool stuff I got from ASI! I’m so excited to be part of this fantastic new addition to campus.
What are you most looking forward to with the BRIC?
As far as the facility itself, I can’t deny that it’s the pool. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a pool and that’s where my roots come from. I was a competitive swimmer in high school. I was a lifeguard for the majority of my teenage years, so that’s really where I got my foundation in recreation. That’s where I fell in love with what I do now. To be back in the world of aquatics for me is exciting on a professional and personal level.
I understand you’re not from Southern California. Where did you move here from?
I moved here from Oakland two months ago. I worked for Club One at Cal State East Bay at that time.
Which do you prefer so far: Northern California or Southern California?
It’s a tough call. It’s just a very different way of life in Southern California. I miss public transit in the Bay Area, I’m very into sustainability. Having driving be such a critical part of my life is an adjustment, but I also love that everything is super close and within driving distance: such as the beach and the mountains. I can pretty much do whatever I want with recreation.
What other recreational activities did you do when you were younger?
Everything was water-based: competitive swimming, life guarding. Later, I got in to water-skiing, wake boarding and snowboarding. Living in the Bay Area, I did a lot of hiking. I became immersed in the gym scene in the mid-90’s, so that shaped my career path. I was pre-med at Sonoma State and discovered this and had some amazing mentors that helped guide my experience. When I started studying kinesiology I discovered that I thrived in that environment. The next thing I knew, Sonoma State was in the process of building a recreation center and I got involved in that process from the ground up. That’s when I discovered that project management was also a love for me.
Do you have any advice for students looking to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle?
Find something that you love and that works for you. If you don’t love it, you’re not going to do it. If you don’t like being in a fitness center, don’t join a fitness center. If you like being outside, find something that works for you outside. Whatever it is, try a bike, roller blades or walking. It’s not always going to be easy. You have to remember how good it feels, and that’s going to keep you going back. For some people it’s physical, for others it’s mental, for many it’s a combination of both. Once you start seeing and feeling the results you won’t want to stop. Just get up and get moving, whatever that looks like for you. I never thought that I would learn to love to lift weights. Literally the sky is the limit to get people involved and play. It’s not just about cardio, or weights, it’s about getting people moving. Find something you love to do and it’s going to achieve a healthier, happier life.
Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
When this job posted it was one of those “A-ha!” moments. I genuinely never in a million years thought that I would be sitting here with you today. It’s because there are an amazing number of truly fantastic recreation professionals in our industry. To actually be here and to lead this team and this project is life-changing in a lot of ways, and I don’t say that lightly. I moved from my home. This experience was such a huge piece for me that I was willing to take all those risks to come here. Every day I fall in love with ASI a little bit more.
For more information on the BRIC, visit asi.csupomona.edu/reccenter.