A few weeks ago, TSL spoke with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) Assistant Director of Recreation Matt Ryan, who is in his eighth year with the program. Meanwhile, on the other side of Sixth Street, Dominiqic Williams is in his first year overseeing Pomona-Pitzer (P-P) recreation. The Sagehens’ director of campus recreation is already making waves in the program and believes there is much more to come.
This conversation has been lightly condensed and edited for clarity.
TSL: Could you talk about your role at P-P Athletics and what kind of events and projects you oversee?
Dominiqic Williams: I am the director of campus recreation, so I oversee our intramural program. I also oversee club sports with Matt Ryan over at CMS, as well as all of our recreation, group fitness classes, open gym and things like that.
TSL: What has been the most memorable or rewarding event or part of your time here so far?
DW: I’ve only been here for a year now. I started last January, so I would say just opening this new building, [the Center for Athletics, Recreation and Wellness (CARW)]. Also being able to program inside of here and see students’ faces when they first walk in, seeing them be like, “oh, I actually get to use this?” or, “we have table tennis and foosball out here for us to participate in?” and I’m like, “yeah!”
We’re trying to make it accessible for everyone. We have something for everyone to partake in. It doesn’t just always have to be sports-related or physical wellness. For example, all of the seating we have — students are able to sit in here and do homework. Classrooms are always open if there are no reservations, so they can always go in there and do study groups too.
TSL: What made you want to work in this position/field post-grad?
DW: When I was in undergrad, I wanted to do occupational therapy. I had started as a student official for intramurals when I was a freshman. When it came time for me to graduate, I still had some prerequisites left in order for me to then apply for OT schools, so I just figured, ‘let me go get a free master’s by [being] a graduate assistant,’ and I continued with recreation administration. It’s been very rewarding to offer people the opportunity to partake in recreational sports without having the commitment and pressure of varsity. Not everyone can play varsity so it’s great to be able to offer them some type of opportunity and still let them play the sports they love.
TSL: What makes P-P Recreation different from other institutions or programs you’ve worked at?
DW: It’s smaller, but also, everyone knows everyone. There are five institutions within walking distance. Everyone takes classes with one another and everyone parties with one another, so there’s that social aspect that’s completely different from when you’re at a larger institution. The weather is great here as well, but it’s also just the opportunity to advance the program — making the changes you think are needed.
Having our athletic director, Dr. Miriam Merrill, who is super supportive, allows me to try new things and change. For a lot of people, when they get stuck, change is difficult, but being new in this role has allowed me to try different things and see if maybe something works. Maybe it didn’t work in the past or maybe it was something that we never tried, but why not try it and see what we can get out of it?
TSL: Can you speak a little more on your relationship with Dr. Merrill?
DW: She’s very supportive. Anything I need, any guidance that we need for our program, she’s going to go to bat for us no matter what. Our club sports program is a 5C program — and we’re sitting at … I believe 28 clubs now. We just had pickleball club get started yesterday … so we’re constantly growing.
TSL: Why do you think club/intramural sports are so important for a college campus?
DW: It comes down to physical wellness, social wellness, mental wellness and even occupational wellness, because we offer students the opportunity to work for us. The social component is definitely key though — everyone goes out and makes friends. Even if you’re a first-year student and you’re not too sure how to go about making friends, if you sign up for an intramural team, some of those friendships last years and decades. Just being able to offer students the opportunity to partake in intramurals or club sports or recreation as a whole, just to have that mental break from the rigorous courses, that’s what it’s all about.
TSL: Is there anything else you want our readers to know about you, club/intramural sports or CARW?
DW: I would say come out and participate! We offer a lot of things in the evenings for students to partake in. This semester, we have dodgeball, indoor pickleball, flag football and then right after spring break, we’re going to start with outdoor soccer, five-on-five basketball and beach volleyball.
For our recreational classes, we offer a cardio-dance which is taught by a student instructor — one in the morning and one in the evening. We have yoga classes in the evening now and we also have a Saturday morning yoga class, so anyone who wants to come and join that attends Pomona or Pitzer, they’re able to. And for our 5C club sports program, we just got our website and logo up and running, so we’re definitely trying to continue to push that forward and highlight that program.