Jonathan Accardi, director of campus recreation and aquatics at Keuka College, received a double dose of good news Thursday (April 18).
After winning the College’s Work-Study Supervisor of the Year Award, Accardi learned he had also captured the Northeast Association of Student Employment Administrators (NEASEA) Supervisor of the Year Award.
The NEASEA’s Supervisor of the Year program begins at an institutional level and progresses to the regional level. The award was established to recognize the integral part that the supervisor plays in the education of a student employee. Supervisors act as mentors and provide education to their students not gained through the classroom. Students at colleges and universities across the region were asked to nominate supervisors they felt were especially worthy of recognition.
In all, 91 supervisors were nominated, including seven from Keuka, and 11 schools submitted their winner for consideration for the NEASEA award. Accardi bested winners from colleges in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, and West Virgina.
According to senior Samantha Stevenson, who nominated Accardi, he communicates continuously with student workers, is always open to comments or concerns, and freely shares his vision for future campus recreation programming. Stevenson called Accardi one of her greatest mentors.
Accardi said he views work-study employment positions as growth opportunities for students and keeps away from assigning “mindless tasks.”
“Certainly, we have some [basic] things that need to get done. But I try to empower our students, and keep it fresh for them. I find out what they’re interested in, their major, what other things they’re involved in on campus. We have a conversation about how they can help the most in our shop. There are no cookie-cutter positions. We build our program around the students and let them use their creative energies and enthusiasm to get it done,” he said.
Part of mentoring students includes discussing what “success” will look like for each proposal, asking how it serves the mission of the College and the athletics department, and setting goals, he explained. After the event or program has launched, he and the students assess if goals were reached, and what kind of changes or improvements need to be made.
And that approach has paid off.
In five years, Accardi has expanded the intramural program from four sports to more than 30 programs that include intramural competitions and overall fitness and health offerings.
A number of the additions were created by his work-study employees, including the dodgeball tournament; a fitness rewards program that offers incentives such as a T-shirt, water bottle or drawstring bag at 30-, 45- and 60-day marks; and popular workout classes like Zumba or yoga, taught by student instructors.
As the NEASEA winner, Accardi received a certificate and $100 VISA gift card.