PNW Intramural Sports Program Celebrates 70 Years


September 16, 2022

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) celebrates the 70th anniversary of the intramural sports program with an intramural day on September 21. The intramural program, which offers something for everyone, has been a staple of the university since 1952.

“Intramurals provide recreational fun for everyone,” says Matt Dudzik, Intramurals Assistant Athletic and Facilities Manager. “You don’t have to be an athlete, or have played a sport in high school, or even be good at an activity. You just have to want to go out, learn to play and have fun.

The official celebration will take place from noon to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21 in the grassy area between the Gyte building and Lawshe Hall on the Hammond campus. The event will include food, music and giveaways. Lawn games, such as beanbag toss and spikeball, will be available for everyone. Additionally, Zig-E’s Funland of St. John will set up an arena and provide equipment for tactical laser tag rounds.

“We have surprises in store for students, faculty and staff,” says Dudzik. “It’s going to be a fun day on campus with pop-ins and giveaways throughout the day. It’s a way for us to say thank you for all the support over the years.

The students are seated at a table with plates of twinkies in front of them

The intramural catering competition is a favorite among students.

A look back

In 1952, Bob Hayes, longtime administrator of the PNW athletics department, started the intramural program with four sports – basketball, baseball, volleyball, and ping pong. Since then, the program has grown to include over 40 intramural activities.

“Intramurals are an important part of student life,” says Dudzik. “Besides the obvious health benefits, it’s a great way to bond and meet other students. It also provides stress relief and an opportunity for fun. Additionally, studies show that intramural programs contribute to a student’s overall college experience and aid in retention.

What’s your game?

The PNW program includes the usual lineup of basketball, volleyball, soccer and dodgeball; however, it also includes many non-traditional and unique offerings.

Student lines up a shot at a pool table

PNW student Jake Ryan competes in a pool tournament. One of more than 40 activities offered by the intramural sports program.

“Not everyone is athletic or wants to participate in athletic activities,” says Dudzik. “We have a variety of people on campus with a variety of interests and we try to make sure there is something for everyone.”

That something includes activities like baking and eating contests, fishing tournaments, quizzes, art contests, and ghost hunting.

“It’s an important program to have on campus because there’s something for everyone,” says Jake Ryan, a fourth-year history student majoring in social studies education. “There are so many different things to participate in that it’s hard not to find something that interests you.”

The Portage native first took part in the intramural program by signing up for an eight-ball tournament during his first semester at PNW. “Unfortunately I was a first-round exit. But I had a great time, met a lot of nice people and even learned a few things,” Ryan recalled.

“I’ve always enjoyed participating in sports and activities,” says Sarah Aurelio, a third-year marketing student in St. John. “I wanted to stay active before going to college and thought going to intramurals would be a great way to meet friends and stay active.”

“We try to add a new activity every year,” says Dudzik. “It makes the program fresh and exciting. It gets people talking about the program and word of mouth is a great form of marketing. Ghost hunting is probably the most unique activity and we added it last spring.

Dudzik says the ghost-hunting event proved so popular that several of the students who participated in it ended up forming a paranormal club on campus. There are also plans to hold a ghost hunting event again this fall, just in time for Halloween.

Besides the obvious health benefits, it’s a great way to bond and meet other students. It also provides stress relief and an opportunity for fun.

Matt Dudzik, Assistant Athletic Director of Intramurals and Facilities

Something for everyone

Student poses with a fish

The Intramural Fishing League takes place from May to June each summer on various lakes in the Hammond area.

PNW’s intramural program not only offers a variety of activities, but it also accommodates the busy school and life schedules of its participants. In addition to league activities, the program offers one-night tournaments and open play events. “It is important to integrate people’s schedules,” says Dudzik. “Some people can’t commit to a weekly activity, so some of our events are just one night and don’t have registration. If you’re free that night, come out and join us.

Ultimately, Dudzik says the goal of the intramural program is to create a memorable college experience for participants. “It’s a way to forget about your studies for a short time, to relax and have fun with your friends,” explains Aurelio. Ryan agrees: “It’s about making new friends, reconnecting with old ones and just having a good time,” he says.

Ryan and Aurelio are both looking forward to the intramural activities planned for this semester. “I already have a few flyers on the fridge, so I don’t forget,” says Aurelio.

See more information about intramurals


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