Bethany Arrington takes over UREC office

In the bustling halls of VWU, a returning face has joined the scene, stepping into a fresh role with the aim of transforming the landscape of recreation and wellness on campus. Meet VWU alumna Bethany Arrington, the newly appointed Director of Recreation and Wellness, whose journey from student to staff member is marked by resilience, passion and a commitment to serve the community.

Arrington’s path to her current position was not a conventional one. Graduating in 2021 with a degree in Sports and Recreation Management, she initially harbored dreams of becoming a pilot, fueled by a childhood passion for flight. 

However, life took an unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes during her freshman year. Undeterred by this setback, Arrington redirected her focus towards her newfound love for recreation, drawn to its ability to bring joy and fulfillment to others.

“Like most people who go into college, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do… I was planning on pursuing [flying], but then I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes,” Arrington said. “I just tried to think about what else made me excited. What else did I enjoy? And that was recreation.”

After completing her undergraduate studies, Arrington pursued a master’s degree at Old

Dominion University, where she delved into research aimed at enhancing recreational

opportunities for youth with Type 1 diabetes. During this time, she discovered her passion for

working with college students, igniting a desire to return to her alma mater and make a

difference in their lives.

Arrington’s love for travel and her dedication to her role are evident in her commitment to creating a positive atmosphere within the Jane P. Batten Student Center. She oversees various aspects of the facility, including the plaza desk, fitness center, pool, lifeguards, UREC and intramurals, ensuring that every area exudes positivity and offers an unparalleled experience for students.

Arrington’s commitment to student development extends beyond recreational programming, as she actively seeks to provide valuable opportunities for students who work in the Batten Center. 

“I want to offer the staff an opportunity to not just be able to show up for work but gain skills and be able to grow their leadership style, as well as build their resume,” Arrington said.

In addition to her focus on staff development, Arrington is dedicated to incorporating student input into the center’s recreational programs. 

“I’ve been encouraging students to stop by my office and share their thoughts on what they’d like to see in our programs,” Arrington said.

Arrington has actively engaged with students, seeking their input on recreational activities and events.

“I went to one class and had all the students write down on sticky notes what they would want to do, what they want to participate in, what their friends would want to do,” Arrington said.

Arrington acknowledges the value of students’ perspectives, recognizing that they bring fresh ideas to the table.

“Around five students mentioned they want to do foursquare, which isn’t necessarily

something I would have thought of on my own,” Arrington said.

McKenna Howenstine|Marlin Chronicle

Looking ahead, Arrington envisions a future where the recreation and wellness center serves as a hub of activity and connection for students, providing not only opportunities for physical activity but fostering personal growth and development.

“I want our center to be more than just a place to work out; I want it to be a catalyst for positive change in students’ lives,” she said.

Moreover, as Arrington settles into her new position, her impact is already being felt among the staff and students alike. Junior Savannah Combs, a supervisor at the Batten Center, works directly under Arrington’s supervision.

“She’s come in like guns blazing, doing a bunch of things that haven’t needed to be done, and she’s actually doing it,” Combs said. “Bethany has made it clear that staff accountability and shared responsibility are non-negotiable, and that’s respectable.”

Combs reflected on Arrington’s leadership style and highlighted the importance of open communication and mutual respect in fostering a positive work environment. 

“Compromising and understanding each other’s perspectives can go a long way in ensuring that we can operate better as a team,” Combs said.

As she navigates the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, Arrington remains dedicated to enhancing the well-being of the Marlin community leaving a lasting impact.

By Daniela Angeles Galvan