by Haley Burnside Senior Writer
Deanna Hewlett is the newest director of the intramural program at Manhattan College. She, her colleagues and the students are hopeful and excited to see how she will use her expertise to improve the program.
The intramural program consists of two divisions differing in competitive intensity. There are a number of various sports offered such as volleyball, basketball, soccer and flag football. Each sport has a season, usually lasting about two months. Students can join or create teams regardless of prior experience or knowledge of the sport at hand.
Junior Sydney Mattera has been involved with intramurals at the college since her freshman year. She believes that Hewlett will bring a fresh face to intramurals.
“I was very eager and pleased to meet Deanna Hewlett. I think she will be a great asset to the student engagement office and will be a great coordinator to the intramurals program,” said Mattera. “I am very excited to start working with her. The program continues to improve and evolve and I am very eager for what’s to come this year!”
John Bennett, Director of Student Engagement, sees the intramural program as a vital aspect of the college’s student life opportunities, and he has a positive feeling about the direction that Hewlett will take it.
“Intramurals have always been a big activity at this college, but maybe in the past few years the involvement has gone down. Deanna is not only going to bring us back to the levels that we used to be at, but I think she’s going to surpass those levels,” said Bennett.
As for Hewlett herself, the excitement comes from a personal love of intramurals, and she looks forward to helping the students of Manhattan College have a good experience through the program.
“I’m most excited about the students honestly. I have a love and a passion for intramurals. That’s where I got my start,” said Hewlett.
Although she did not originally foresee herself having a sports-related career, she is glad to have found herself in her new role.
“I actually started as a computer engineering major at school in Texas. I moved from Mississippi to Texas to go to college and I didn’t know anybody. I started out my freshman year playing basketball and flag football on intramural teams and I literally met some of my best friends through that. Today, I still talk to some of the people I met through intramurals,” said Hewlett.
She went on to add, “I had always been around sports but I never really thought of sports as a career until I started to learn about the different levels of involvement. Since intramurals were so important to my experience in college, I’m excited to be a part of the program here.”
Hewlett’s goals for the program involve making it enjoyable for the participants and the staff.
“I’m ready to build a great program,” said Hewlett. “I’m looking to bring some more structure to the program and give students more responsibility. For the participants and the workers, I expect them to have fun and enjoy themselves. I want to make it a fun work environment where they can learn.”
The work positions in the program offer students the chance to be leaders and work with more responsibility, according to Hewlett. Mattera is eager to take on the additional responsibility and help the program grow, especially considering her extensive involvement over her past few years at the college.
“I started getting involved with intramurals during my freshman year. My brother, Matt, introduced me to the program and I really enjoyed working for this work study,” said Mattera.
“I have been a score keeper for the last two years, which has the role to check all the players in, make sure everyone knows the rules, and keep score of the games while everyone plays. This year, I signed up to be a supervisor for the program! I enjoy working for this program and would love to take on more responsibility,” said Mattera.
Brain Opfer, a junior civil engineering major, is also a longtime fan of the program.
“I started refereeing for intramurals as a freshman. I also participated in the sports since freshman year. This year I am one of ten supervisors for intramurals,” said Opfer.
As for the benefits of participating in the intramural sports, everyone involved can name a few. Opfer sees the valuable physical health benefits to intramural participation.
“I like participating in intramurals to stay active and also to relax. For a lot of students that played sports in high school but not in college it is nice to play an organized game and have fun. It is a great way to let your mind rest for an hour after a day of school,” said Opfer.
Though Mattera would not disagree with Opfer, she also notices the social benefits to intramurals.
“I believe intramurals are very, very beneficial to students. I actually can’t stress that enough. We always have tons of students signing up. Intramurals are an escape for students from their school work and gives them the opportunity of socialization,” said Mattera.
Bennett also believes that intramurals provide good social opportunities, especially in their specific nature of low-time commitment and the ability to choose the intensity of the competition.
“It’s such a great social activity whether you like the sport or not. I really honestly feel like it’s the easiest way to make new friends. It doesn’t really matter if you like flag football or if you’ve ever played flag football. It’s all about the social aspect,” said Bennett.
In comparison to other campus activities, Bennett thinks that intramurals provide flexibility, which is important to students with busy schedules.
“It’s not a huge time commitment. It’s a good excuse to come back to campus if you’re a commuter or to get out of your room if you’re a resident without becoming overbearing on your schedule,” said Bennett.
Students who wish to participate but are unable to find teammates are encouraged to reach out to student engagement.
“Most students sign up with their friends, but if you don’t know anyone else who wants to sign up we will always put you on a team. All you have to do as a student is contact us and ask to join,” said Bennett.
Hewlett’s passion and personality can bring a new, organized nature to the program that has already been so important to students on campus. To join the action, contact Hewlett herself, or other student engagement staff members.