By Christina Acevedo
UCI’s new campus recreation director, Greg Rothberg, has worked in his current field for some time now.
Before graduating from college in 1987, he recognized his enthusiasm for sports. He served as a sports coordinator at UC Berkeley during his undergraduate career. From there, Rothberg went on to receive a master’s degree in sports administration at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Following his graduate education, Rothberg worked as an outdoor director in Mississippi for six months. During this time, he helped oversee outdoor trips and a lake facility.
“I loved my coursework at Berkeley, but … when I started working in the recreational sports department, I was having a fantastic experience working with fellow students. We had a lot of responsibility … running the intramural sports program,” he said.
Eventually, he landed a job at UCI as the intramural and club sports assistant director and has been a staff member for nearly 27 and a half years since then.
After Rothberg’s first job at UCI, he functioned as assistant director of informal recreation before moving on to his most recent position as associate director of facilities, which he held for 19 years.
Rothberg’s interest in being campus recreation director was influenced by his desire to help students and faculty improve their well-being. He also wanted to implement some changes.
“Since I started at UCI, I’ve had a passion for my job as well as the department … [I’ve] always been excited about what we’re able to provide the university … I really wanted to be able to move the department forward, be able to contribute new things and new ideas, not just in programs but also in facilities,” he said.
Specifically, Rothberg hopes to initiate partnerships, establish connections with other departments, introduce new facilities, revive recreational programs and offer students more activities to participate in.
He has already helped establish some classes during his time at UCI including Tread & Shred, F45 and a boxing class.
“A passion of mine as well as a direction for the department and university is going to be really trying to help develop the well-being of our students and our faculty and staff on campus … especially new students, to help make them aware of the opportunities we have,” Rothberg said.
His job requires him to direct the different programs and facilities under campus recreation in addition to handling the budget. This applies to indoor and outdoor facilities such as those at the Anteater Recreation Center and facilities like Marina Park that are associated with UCI.
In addition to ensuring safety, one of Rothberg’s primary concerns is enhancing student life through recreation so as to make students’ experiences at UCI more enjoyable.
“We want to make the campus proud of us, provide the ARC as well as our programs as a big retention tool for our students … and also for recruitment,” he said.
While he may not have anticipated his involvement in campus recreation as a high school student or as an aspiring psychology major, Rothberg shared that he has forever had a love for sports and played many intramural sports when he was younger.
Now, he gets to spend his days doing something he really cares about.
“[My] favorite part is … the people I get to work with, the place I get to work at … and being able to see … everyone who uses the building and how appreciative they are and how happy they are to be here,” he said.