Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Project Positive 2024: Creating a Space to Thrive at UREC

Adeline Ong

As the seasons have changed, it was once again time for Seattle University Recreation (UREC) to hold their annual Project Positive event series around campus. The series ran from Feb. 26 to March 3, with events scheduled throughout the week centered on Seattle U community members’ well-being. Sara Janosik, assistant director of operations and engagement at UREC, supervises their marketing team, which plans and executes Project Positive each year. 

“We started back in November planning what theme we would want,” Janosik said. “As we get closer, we plan what specific events we might want to have.”

She explained that the goal of the program is to promote physical and mental health, as well as bring more students into UREC. 

Lorenzo Caltagirone is a second-year marketing major and communications manager for UREC who works to further that goal as well.

“The main goal is finding that sense of community, to open the gym for people who haven’t really seen it,” Caltagirone said. “I feel like the gym is kind of a hard place to come to. Our goal for Project Positive is to push inclusivity and make sure everyone knows that the gym is a friendly place to be.” 

The theme of this year’s Project Positive was “Space to Thrive,” featuring events like a black light cardio dance, black light dodgeball, cosmic yoga, stargazing and a bandana-making Makerspace event, as well as the Five Point Film Festival, which showed films highlighting the experiences of marginalized communities in the outdoors. The Eisiminger Fitness Center was decorated with galaxies, stars and other space-based visuals for the duration of Project Positive. 

Adeline Ong

“We’re going to do a craft activity with affirmations, so students will write down some affirmations, fold it up and put it in a jar, as a visual representation of what they want to get out of the yoga practice,” Janosik said, about the cosmic yoga event. 

Janosik also acknowledged there is more to self-care than physical activity.

“One of our values at UREC is community, so we wanted to touch on that as a physical space, allowing people to come into UREC and thrive in our physical space,” Janosik said. “There’s also emotional space, and people are taking up mental space on things, so we were trying to tie it to all those different aspects of space, and what you need to do to thrive in those different spaces.” 

The work that goes into creating an event series that helps promote self care falls on UREC’s seven-student marketing team. Student graphic designers created stickers and posters and a student photographer captured the event. Janosik explained that it provides students with “real life hands-on project experience.”

The marketing team as well as other UREC employees have been busy the past few weeks preparing for Project Positive events as well as decorating. 

“It’s been pretty chaotic,” said Janosik. “It has been really busy but it’s been really fun, full of energy.”

Caltagirone has been involved in the planning process and detailed the rigorous commitment that it was.

“Every Tuesday at night we would come in, brainstorm what our themes could be, what message we wanted to attach to it,” he said. 

But that constant planning paid off, as Caltagirone spoke to the campus-wide scale of the event. 

“We partnered with the Makerspace to do bandana making. We just wanted to do our best to include all of campus, so we’ve got the library included, I think RedhawkTHON is included with us, and we’ve got a few other places on campus. Our goal is to make campus one big community,” he explained. 

Adeline Ong

Maya Walthall, a second-year political science major, attended the Project Positive black light cardio dance. She attended the regularly held cardio dances last year, and made sure to come out to this event. 

“We had glow sticks, we had fun glow in the dark stuff, it was all dark in there, we had black light,” she said. “It was very fun.” 

Walthall shared that she believes Project Positive is important for fostering a healthy environment for students.

“I think that there can be sometimes a toxic gym culture and so I think that by doing Project Positive every year, it really shows that the staff who work at the gym really care about making sure that students feel great about their bodies, and great about working out, and great about their health,” she said.

Both Janosik and Caltagirone agreed that this year’s UREC has been a massive success, with students enjoying the event series, and important values of both mental and physical self care being promoted. 

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