(Part of an ongoing series featuring Rich Media Impact Award finalists)

When potential students tour Louisiana State University they have a nice walk through the beautiful campus, they might sit in on a class and they likely tour the dorms. They’re also introduced to the student wellness program, LSU UREC.

“Student recruits are excited when they are introduced to the online classes and they can begin to participate in UREC programs before they arrive on campus,” said Scott Belanger, UREC.

UREC provides facilities and programs that engage the physical, recreational, and competitive needs of the LSU student body and is a vital part of the student experience. Through one of the most popular programs, UREC GroupX, students have access to 32 group exercise classes each week, including dance, yoga, cardio and resistance. But with a student population of over 26,000 these classes are in high-demand and are sometimes difficult to get into.

UREC solved that problem a few years ago by mediasiting GroupX classes to increase both the number of classes offered as well as the number of participants who were able to participate. In a UREC GroupX online class the instructor guides the student through a 30-60 minute workout – each including a warm-up, a specific style of workout, and a cool down.

“Mediasite has allowed UREC to create an online environment that enables students to participate in fitness programs, watch competitions and learn about living a healthy lifestyle from any computer with internet access,” said Belanger. “GroupX online classes have been successful in reaching students. LSU UREC has webcast more than 30 classes since August of 2008. These classes have totaled over 24,000 views, which translates into 6,100 hours of exercise.”

Beyond the online classes, UREC also uses Mediasite to webcast competitions. Last year LSU hosted the Western Rugby Union Collegiate Championships. The tournament included 16 teams from seven states. LSU UREC streamed four of those matchups with Mediasite, which were viewed 309 times during the duration of the tournament. Offering this webcasting service also makes LSU more competitive as they work to attract new competitions to campus.

“Most of the viewers were friends, family and fans that were not able to travel to the tournament. Two of the viewers, parents of an LSU player, were able to watch from the comfort of their home in Australia. The Mediasite webcasts were a great value for the students who participated in the tournament,” said Belanger.

LSU UREC is a finalist in the RMIA Prolific Use category. Watch the awards ceremony live on May 17.