Getting to know the director of campus recreation: Sabrina Laurent
June 16, 2017
Sabrina Laurent has been a member of the Nicholls community for over 25 years. She joined the staff as the director of housing in 1991 and during that time, completed her masters’ degree in higher education administration.
“I graduated with my sociology degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1988,” Laurent said. “I came to work at Nicholls in 1991 as the director of housing and while working, was able to work on my masters’ degree in higher education administration.”
Laurent worked with the housing department for 11 years before becoming the coordinator of the Women’s Resource and Services office. Ten years later, she became the assistant director of campus recreation.
Laurent believes all her previous positions have prepared her for her new role at Campus Recreation.
“My time with housing and the women’s resource and services helped me develop my philosophy and understand,” Laurent said. “It was an important piece for providing training and development for students. The opportunities in housing also helped me from a business perspective in regards to managing a budget, understanding how the University system works and how the purchasing process works.”
Before Laurent, the position of director of campus recreation was held by Mike Matherne. In 2003, Matherne worked with the university committee to create a fee that ultimately built the rec center.
“Mike Matherne had a big part in establishing the foundation for the rec center,” Laurent said. “He was pivotal in working with the university committee that got the fee passed back in 2003.”
According to Laurent, Matherne brought the bike share and group fitness program to the rec center.
“The bike share program and the group fitness program were new initiatives that we were all proud of,” Laurent said.
Aside from the programs Matherne implemented when he was director, Laurent plans to enhance the rec center’s website, expand wellness education opportunities the center offers and extend nutrition awareness opportunities.
“[Campus recreation] is at a point where our vision is expanding,” Laurent said. “We looking to do educational pieces on men’s health and a variety of topics which we will partner with University Health Services and the University Counseling Center. We’re working with our software company to enhance the members experience with our website.”
She’d also like to provide late-night programming opportunities for students so they have activities to do in the evening.
“In the fall, we’re going to strategically build in some late-night opportunities although the rec is already open until 11,” Laurent said. “We haven’t formalized what it will look like but we’re going to expand that. It’s designed so the students have more fun.”
Laurent enjoys the interaction with students. Her goal, regardless of her position on campus, has been to engage students in activities that would facilitate a positive university experience.
“The rec center is open until 11 on purpose,” Laurent said. “It’s so students can come and reach whatever goal they want. It doesn’t have to be a fitness goal, they can come to just hang out. Later in the day when a lot of areas on campus may be closed, the rec center is here for that.”
Laurent believes students should experience things that are not directly related to their classroom activities. She believes the rec center is a great place to start.
“I would encourage all students to, in addition to working hard in the classroom, explore all the opportunities the campus has to offer,” Laurent said. “Come to the rec center to experience the environment. I’d like for students to be able to come through the doors and participate in group or individual activities.”