NIRSA's Annual Conference Goes to Anaheim, CA

Delegates can catch a wave of opportunity at the 61st annual Conference and Recreational Sports Exposition hosted by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) from April 20-23 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. The four-day event is designed to bring together collegiate recreational sports professionals, students and industry vendors.

New attendees can enjoy a special social event from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday, April 20, on the show floor, according to Katherine Otten, NIRSA editor and assistant director of marketing.

“There will be great raffle prizes, including cash and a four nights' stay at the Anaheim Marriott, the host hotel,” Otten says about the New Member Welcome Social.

The Recreational Sports Exposition allows attendees to connect with vendors showcasing fitness equipment, architectural services, technology and more. In addition to the Tuesday evening hours, the show floor will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21.

Invited speakers represent another learning opportunity for delegates. At the opening general session from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on April 20, speaker Matt Weinstein, CPAE and founding president of Playfair Inc., an international team-building consulting company, will discuss “Managing to Have Fun: Reward, Recognition and Retention.” Weinstein is the host of the PBS TV special “Fun Works!” and has worked as a consultant for companies such as AT&T, IBM and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Since Anaheim is home to the Disneyland Resort, NIRSA invited speaker Bill Capodagli, co-author of “The Disney Way” and “Innovate the Pixar Way,” to speak about why Disney is a relevant role model for recreation leaders. His lecture, “If Walt Ran Your Organization,” will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday, April 23, at the closing general session.

The seminars include a new sustainability track, which complements the fact that Earth Day falls on April 22 during the conference this year.

For Earth Day, NIRSA will feature speakers on the topic of sustainability, including Robert “Birdlegs” Caughlan, who will present “Deep Roots, High Ideals,” a brief history of the American environmental movement. He is a former special assistant to the deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and founding president of the Surfrider Foundation.

Marisa McGilliard, executive director of the Council for Responsible Sport, Portland, OR, a nonprofit organization designed to establish standards of environmental and social responsibility in sports, will discuss “Sports as a Catalyst for Social Change.”

In addition, Joe Watz, associate director of marketing and business development at Cal Recreational Sports, Berkeley, CA, will speak about “PLAYgreen — Leading the Green Revolution on Your Campus.” Watz created the Caltopia and PLAYgreen experiential marketing events that serve more than 46,000 attendees annually.

The NIRSA Foundation also is hosting a Mark Fletcher Fun Run/Walk from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on Friday, April 23. Named in honor of Mark Fletcher, a 32-year member of NIRSA who died last June, the proceeds of the event will be donated to the foundation in Fletcher's name. Registration is $10 for students and $20 for members, nonmembers and guests. The untimed 5K event will start in front of the Anaheim Marriott Hotel.

Visit for more information about this year's event.

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