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Mentorship Through Exercise

"Mentorship Through Exercise" is a UREC program that provides JMU students the opportunity to have a positive mentor-mentee relationship with faculty/staff outside of the formal classroom setting. 

The value of mentorship between students and faculty/staff are plentiful; from helping develop positive leadership outcomes, to increasing on campus engagement and increasing persistence through college and degree completion

Our hope is that students and faculty/staff that select into the program will participate in UREC’s wide variety of programs and/or facilities together. Participants will be sent monthly program updates, as well as informal discussion points that could be discussed while exercising. Any JMU faculty/staff and students with access to UREC who are interested are welcome to participate.

Faculty Testimonial

Connie, Faculty, Students Swimming
Connie Peterson (top right) with faculty and students in the UREC Pool.

“I am excited to see UREC start a student/faculty workout mentor system. As a triathlete, I have embraced the opportunity to swim, bike and run with a number of JMU students over the past 15 years. Knowing somebody is expecting me to be there for them, and vice versa, holds each of us accountable to stick to our plans.

Many faculty may be concerned that they cannot begin to “keep up” students. With the variety of machines and classes at UREC, you don’t have to. Knowing that I am working to be the best I can be and role model for them how fitness and training fit into my life is enough. Mostly, students are supportive and encouraging of faculty and staff exercising in their environment. It balances the equation and creates opportunities for students to show faculty what they can do. More importantly, I think it enriches both of our lives, both of our Madison experiences.

Having the opportunity to interact on a professional, but social level with students from my own courses as well as other programs across campus enriches the interactions I have with students on a daily basis. I am more aware of the challenges they face, the struggles with becoming adults, searching for jobs, their views on social and political issues and current trends. Conversely, I have helped students develop approaches to deal with difficult group projects, understand that assignments often have secondary learning objectives and encouraged them to interact with their professors when they were struggling.

Overall, I feel like we all win when we get out of our traditional roles and embrace our commonalities. Working out with students at UREC is a win-win for us all.” 

-Dr. Connie Peterson, PhD, ATC, JMU Athletic Training Faculty

What is the time commitment/expectation?

It is up to each pairing as to how often you can meet based on your individual schedules and commitments. We will initiate the pairing and then the two individuals will be able to set up a mentorship time based on their availability.

Does the faculty member need to have experience in that certain area of recreation?

You have the choice on the registration form as to how you would like to be paired with a mentee or mentor, based on academic interest, recreational interest, both or neither. There is not a certain skills level required for the recreational or fitness interests.

What if someone prefers to workout with the same gender, or would feel uncomfortable with someone from a different gender?

For a mentorship relationship to be mutually beneficial, both parties must be comfortable. If you have any specific requests for your pairing you can list those on the form.

What if I can only work out at lunch? By signing up, do I have to work out at night?

It is up to each pair to schedule a time that works best for them. There is no set requirement as to when the mentorship pair must come to UREC or UPARK.

What is the expected length of the relationship?

There is no required length for each mentorship pair. At the end of each academic year, an email will be sent that includes a program survey with questions to determine whether you want to continue with your current mentor/mentee, you are looking for a new mentor/mentee, or if you no longer wish to participate in the program.

What do I do if my mentor/mentee does not communicate with me for several weeks after the initial email?

You can email the program coordinators at to get paired with a new mentor/mentee.

How do I sign up?

Fill out this online form. You will be contacted via email by the program coordinators once you are paired.


If you have questions about the Mentorship Through Exercise program, please contact the program coordinators by emailing

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