Who We Are
NIRSA comprises and supports leaders in collegiate recreation.
As college and university students develop into future leaders, NIRSA members support their learning and growth by fostering lifelong habits of wellbeing. Leadership, teamwork, dedication, and respect are among the many skills exercised by inclusive competition, fitness, and recreation. Since its founding in 1950, NIRSA membership has grown to comprise nearly 4,000 dedicated professionals, students, and businesses, serving an estimated 7.7 million students.
NIRSA believes that collegiate recreation is a significant and powerful key to inspiring wellness in local, regional, and global communities. Learn more about our mission.
Our network of passionate professional and student members drive the association through volunteer leadership and is supported by the NIRSA team at headquarters, based in Corvallis, Oregon.
Where We’re From
NIRSA began in 1950 as the National Intramural Association. In that year, our founder, Dr. William Wasson, convened a meeting of 20 representatives from 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities at Dillard University in New Orleans. This was our first conference.
Eventually, we became known as the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, and we held that moniker until 2012.
Now we are simply NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation.
Please feel free to learn more about our rich and celebrated history.
Where We’re Going
Our vision is nothing short of becoming the premier association of leaders in collegiate recreation worldwide. We believe this is attainable through our network of passionate professional and student members who inspire their communities and build upon each other’s knowledge.
The NIRSA Foundation, our not-for-profit charitable organization, supports the NIRSA mission by awarding myriad scholarships each year to professional and student members for educational events. They also work to create meaningful opportunities for service and leadership among the NIRSA Membership, as well as publish the Recreational Sports Journal.
The NIRSA Services Corporation, our for-profit entity, supports NIRSA’s mission and vision through enterprise. NSC manages NIRSA-sponsored and endorsed programs, develops assets through corporate partnerships, and creates student and professional development opportunities through the administration of sport tournaments.