In Fitness and in Health

This story is featured in the Fall 2019 edition of the HPU Magazine. Discover below how one HPU staff member enriches students’ lives through the HPU recreation center. 


For Mat Allred, one game of intramural basketball or one spinning class is all it takes to start a friendship. These activities and the wealth of other recreation offerings available at High Point University are key to a fulfilling and vibrant college experience.

As director of recreation services, Allred and his team provide opportunities for students to engage in a range of fitness and wellness activities. Whether it’s group fitness class, skiing trip or casual game of beach volleyball, recreation is an important part of HPU’s inspiring environment and collaborative culture.

As a lifelong athlete, Allred found his place in college through campus recreation — he met his wife playing flag football. Now, he works hard to ensure HPU students have a variety of activities to enjoy.

“Our students are very fitness conscious, and I love how we adapt to their interests,” says Allred. “The best way to encourage them to develop healthy lifestyle choices is to get them involved. It doesn’t have to be a sport. It could be playing cornhole or studying by the pool. It’s about promoting overall wellness and building fellowship.”

HPU’s facilities, ranked No. 15 out of the 50 best recreation centers by College Consensus, are a part of the extraordinary transformation that has taken place on campus in the past decade. The Slane Student Center, home of HPU Rec, is one of 10 fitness centers on campus. It includes a group exercise room, multipurpose basketball courts, indoor running track and pool.

All services provided for students, including 50 exercise classes a week, are complimentary. This also includes activities at HPU’s Outdoor Discovery Center, which boasts a ropes course, climbing wall and professional-grade laser tag field used regularly for team building.

There are also excursion trips, such as whitewater rafting, and more than 300 intramural teams in popular sports such as basketball, soccer and flag football.

The student-led culture also sets HPU Rec apart. Allred and his team mentor more than 150 student employees.

“If you want to work in the fitness industry, you need experience,” says Allred. “We train and certify the students who work for us. The responsibilities we give them build great confidence and leadership — qualities that employers don’t see in the average college graduate.”

Hanna Callahan is one of them. She worked at the guest services desk as a junior and then as a facility manager during her senior year.

“Mat has helped me with my next steps,” she says. “He’s talked to me about who my contacts should be and where I should be looking for positions. He’s given me advice to become better at my job.”

Michael Dutcher, ’19, worked for HPU Rec for four years. Now, he’s pursuing a master’s degree in Auckland, New Zealand, to become a strength and conditioning coach.

“Rec was a huge part of my time at HPU,” he says. “I met some of my best friends and gained experience. I’ve learned a lot about recreation and building camaraderie. The respect and increasing responsibility Mat and his team gave me as a student helped me grow and develop as a professional, and I had a lot of fun.”

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