Professors, students share common ground at rec center

Shane Transue

Professors are typically authority figures in the classroom that, more often than not, earn the respect of the students they teach. When students and professors encounter each other at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, however, some may think the figurative totem pole is much more equal.

Professors, just like students, can use the Rec free of additional charge. With professors and students both attending the same fitness facility, encounters with each other are bound to occur.

Christopher Miller, a sophomore sports management and business major, plays pickup basketball games at the Rec about three times a week and said he’s played against a variety of different people, including professors.

“The games can get a little intense here at times, and sometimes professors and some older guys like to join in,” Miller said. “Sometimes the guys can keep up and sometimes they slow the game down a little bit, but it’s all in good fun so no one is really bothered by it all too much.”

Miller also said there are a few specific professors that inspire a special set of rules to be followed when playing.

“There’s kind of an unwritten rule that if you’re guarding a professor during a game at the Rec, then you can’t really shoot the ball because some of them don’t play much defense,” Miller joked.

Ryan Taylor, a junior entrepreneurship major and student in one of the calculus courses taught by Rajeev Rajaram, has noticed his professor’s impact with students.

“I see him at the gym sometimes and there is nothing different from the way he treats us in the classroom,” Taylor said. “He levels with all his students and even fills us in on his current fitness endeavors, including keeping track of his pushups after class.”

Rajaram, a mathematical science associate professorsees interacting with his students at the Rec as not only a way of staying in contact with his students, but also to help inspire them to continue their hard work.

“I get the same level of respect no matter where I meet them (students),” Rajaram said. “The classroom is actually such a small part of the experience. I keep in touch with them constantly by email, phone and video conferencing, office hours, informal meetings on campus, at the gym and wherever. I make them own their hard work and I feel that showing them how I own my hard work towards my fitness goals motivates them to work harder.”

Shane Transue is the fitness and recreation reporter, contact him at [email protected].