Promoting Playtime

By Amanda Cleary-Eastep

Since first competing in soccer at the age of four, Courtney Budd has channeled her love of sports and fitness into her educational and career pursuits. Today she brings that dedication to her position as IIT’s director of intramurals and recreation. This spring Budd joined the Illinois Tech Department of Athletics and strives toward the team’s goal to reinvigorate the intramurals program and inspire students to “get out and play.”

Promoting Playtime
The inaugural IIT Color Run, a “non-intimidating” one-mile walk/run around campus during which participants were doused with brightly colored powder, marked a celebratory finish to the school year.
Photo: Viraj S. Bhatt (PWR master’s candidate)

The program now features a new logo and a name change from Intramurals and Recreation to Recreational Sports and Fitness in addition to offering more non-traditional classes, including Zumba and kickboxing. Budd says there is something for everyone. Students may participate in leagues, tournaments, group fitness classes, and special events, such as last semester’s IIT Color Run, the largest intramurals event in university history.

During the spring semester, the department witnessed significant increases in student participation, with nearly three times the number of students than the fall semester. Most notable was the increase in participation among female students, with 16 times the number of participants.

Budd has spent months planning this fall’s Campus Cup Challenge and The Great IIT Race, which will mimic CBS’s multi-Emmy Award-winning reality series, The Amazing Race. Students have already benefited from the re-energized program. Sharuk Ashfak Majid (BMED 1st year), an international student from Bangladesh, says participating in intramurals enabled him to meet students from different majors, join his roommate in making it to the basketball quarter-finals, and stay healthy.

“The student experience is a huge focus at Illinois Tech, and recreational sports and fitness can have a positive impact on that,” Budd says.

That impact extends beyond improving the physical health of students. Budd recalls how sports taught her as many life lessons as it did soccer techniques.

“Playing organized sports taught me how to be confident, work with other people, and become a leader.”

Meet Courtney Budd: Director of Intramurals and Recreation

Courtney Budd

Sports and physical fitness have been an integral part of Courtney Budd’s life since she began playing soccer competitively at the age of four. She credits her parents with supporting her passion for athletic competition, one that also led to a full soccer scholarship to attend Valparaiso University in Indiana. Budd earned a Master of Higher Education Administration at North Park University while working as a graduate assistant, and as a senior operations manager with Junior Achievement of Chicago. Budd’s responsibilities at North Park included managing the recreation facility, student workers, and the overall intramurals program. She has also coached club soccer at a competitive level and was an adjunct instructor at Robert Morris University.