Pulaski Bank's Gift Buys Thousands of University ID Card Holders
From left are Jamie Banks, director of development for the College of Education and Health Professions; Craig Edmonston, director of the Intramural/Recreational Sports program; Megan Edmonston, Pulaski Bank assistant vice president and branch manager; and Tonia Philpott, northwest Arkansas retail manager.
It's a win-win-win situation.
University of Arkansas students will receive free ID card holders in Razorback red that provide a more secure way to carry their cards they need to bring when working out on campus or participating in one of the many activities sponsored by Intramural/Recreational Sports.
Craig Edmonston, director of Intramural/Recreational Sports, won't have to cut as many activities offered to students this year because of an increase in wage costs.
And, Pulaski Bank dives head first into community involvement less than four months after opening eight branches in northwest Arkansas.
The bank's gift this month of $5,440.93 to the University of Arkansas allows Edmonston to purchase nearly 4,000 of the holders for university identification cards.
"The really nice thing about this gift is that, because of increased wage costs, we would have had to cut back on activities this year," Edmonston said. "We have over 300 activities during the school year, and most of those cost under $10,000. Now, because of Pulaski Bank's donation, we will be able to maintain that level of sponsorship."
IMRS kicks off the first of those activities with HYPE Night in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building, or HPER, on Aug. 26, the second day of classes in the fall semester. Jeremy Battjes, associate director for facility management, expects to give away at least 2,000 of the cards that night.
"Then, we'll distribute several more thousand at RAZORBASH," Battjes said, referring to another annual event held at the Arkansas Union during the first week of classes.
All students, faculty and staff carry ID cards, which are necessary to check out library books, to gain access to some campus facilities such as residence and dining halls, the HPER building, and some computer labs; to purchase tickets to athletic events; and to take some exams. Students, faculty and staff members can also use them as debit cards through the RazorBucks program to pay for such expenses as meals and paper copies.
About 80 percent of the university's student body take part in activities at the HPER, whether it's exercising in the Donna Axum Fitness Center or in group exercise classes including aerobics, yoga, Pilates and weightlifting; swimming laps; practicing martial arts; or playing racquetball, basketball and volleyball. They also fish, bowl, fence, ski, row and play disc golf, tennis, lacrosse, softball, rugby and soccer at the university's outdoor playing fields and other area venues. Some of the sport clubs travel nationally and internationally to compete.
By giving away the sturdy canvas ID holders, Edmonston hopes to encourage students and others not to bring wallets and other valuables with them when they come to work out and play. The holders have a zippered pouch and two card sleeves inside, and they can easily be slipped into a warm-up jacket pocket. Decorated with the IMRS logo and Pulaski Bank's logo, they also have a key ring attached.
Edmonston said national surveys have shown campus recreation ranks as one of the top five reasons that a student gives for staying at their institution of choice once enrolled.
"Campus recreation is more valuable than just letting students go out and play," he said. "It is an experience that adds to a student's educational experience and provides opportunities for personal growth. All of our programs have an outcome basis or we wouldn't offer them. We look at what students can learn and what developmental traits can be improved by their participation."
"Many of our special events are designed to give students an alcohol-alternative function," Edmonston continued. "They also help students make friends and develop active interests to balance the time they spend on academics."
The Intramural/Recreational Sports program is the largest employer of students on campus. More than 330 students worked for IMRS last year, and the number will be about the same this year, with applications expected to top 1,000 for the first time.
Edmonston believes one reason students want to work for IMRS is the extensive, in-depth training the program provides to its student workers. Many of them become certified in CPR and teaching aerobics, and others gain valuable experience in outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, ice climbing and backpacking through the Outdoor Connection Center.
Megan Edmonston, assistant vice president and branch manager at Pulaski Bank's Mission Boulevard location in Fayetteville, knows firsthand the importance of campus recreation. The daughter of Craig Edmonston, an employee of the university for 30 years, Megan said the idea for the bank's gift came out of a conversation with her father.
"We were talking about how the bank could be involved in the university and particularly with the students," she said. "The bank appreciates having the opportunity to make an impact in the university community."
Heidi Stambuck, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
(479) 575-3138, email@example.com