While attending the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Jeffrey Keenan realized he enjoyed helping foster a sense of community among campus groups and student organizations, so he majored in hotel, restaurant and tourism management to better serve others.

The Campus Recreation Services sport clubs coordinator, who joined the staff in December, hopes to join other executives within the department to help make the club sports community more leadership-oriented. To do so, Keenan said he’ll focus on the club sports officers.

“I really like advising the students and helping them on their journeys,” Keenan said. “[Officers] are great leaders or have great leadership potential.”

Keenan said students can learn widely applicable skills by playing club sports. With 10 years of experience in outdoor recreation, he said he’s ready to challenge himself with the goal of building a tighter community among members of the university’s club sports teams.

As an undergraduate, Keenan worked for Stout’s outdoor adventure program. Shortly after graduating in 2007, he became the assistant manager of the University of California, Riverside’s outdoors program.

“I wanted to be that mentor, that adviser for the next group of students,” he said.

Growing up in Minnesota, Keenan became interested in outdoor recreation when his family started going on trips to national parks. With a passion for outdoor adventure, Keenan found a desire to spread that excitement to other communities.

As an undergraduate, he worked in leadership positions as a resident assistant and tour guide. He also founded a running club and Stout’s chapter of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

At this university, Keenan has been working under and learning from Rebecca Cegledy, CRS member services assistant director. He’s been helping Cegledy handle team travel, dues, fees and other administrative tasks while Tiffanie Morgan, sport clubs assistant director, is on maternity leave.

“He’s very enthusiastic, and he’s picking up everything very quickly,” Cegledy said. “We’re doing very well.”

As the staff works to reorganize itself, Cegledy said, the club sports department has continued to run smoothly with Keenan’s help. For him, the next few months are for learning more about the university’s outdoors programs and his position, as well as developing a stronger relationship with his colleagues and students in club sports.

“People are like the framework of our community, and people seek out that community,” Keenan said. “A lot of jobs that I’ve had over time are about creating that community.”