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Recreation Conference Planned for Nov. 3 and 4

Recreation Conference Planned for Nov. 3 and 4


John de Graaf, a documentary filmmaker, author and activist for more leisure time in the U.S., will deliver the prestigious Metcalf Endowment Lecture at this year’s 66th annual SUNY Cortland Recreation Conference, which takes place Thursday, Nov. 3, and Friday, Nov. 4, at the College.

The executive director of Take Back Your Time and co-founder of The Happiness Initiative, de Graaf will give the keynote address titled “National Parks and Route 66: Why We Need Time to Play” from 1 to 2:15 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, in Corey Union Function Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.

John de Graaf
John de Graaf

A former university instructor, de Graff’s address stems from the 100th anniversary of America's National Park Service and from his years of research on the subject of leisure time in America.

“Today the average visitor to the Grand Canyon spends only 17 minutes viewing its glory,” de Graff said. “With their long working hours and short vacations, Americans are stressed and parents pass their stress onto their kids.”

Fifteen of de Graff’s documentaries, including the popular special, “Affluenza,” have been broadcast nationally on PBS. His books include the best-seller Affluenza: the All-Consuming Epidemic, now in its third edition, and What's the Economy For, Anyway?

Using international data to show that humans all need time to play — for our health, happiness and social connections — de Graff will share his thoughts on how they can get it.

“Route 66: Destination Recreation” is the theme of the two-day gathering, the nation’s oldest continuous collegiate-sponsored recreation education conference.

The theme aims to encourage participants to think about recreation from various perspectives, ranging from the variety of career opportunities within the field to the plethora of activities one might pursue on the highway of life, all of which are bound to take every individual to unique and interesting places.

In addition, the conference will highlight the National Parks as a celebration of the National Parks Service Centennial this past August.

“We want to highlight the quintessential importance of recreation as our journey progresses through the highway of life," said conference coordinator and Seth Buono, a senior recreation major from Albany, N.Y.

Presented by the College’s Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department and students in its Special Events Planning class, the conference receives additional support for the Metcalf Keynote Address from the Metcalf Endowment Fund and the Campus Artist and Lecture Series. The annual event hosts 200 to 400 students and professionals in the fields of recreation, parks, and leisure studies from all over New York state and the greater New England area.

The conference features a research symposium, internship fair, professional networking social, special workshops and trainings, two days of professional development sessions, with catered luncheons, live entertainment, and raffles of local goods and services.

Registration is open to the general public. The registration rate for the conference is $60 for students and $125 for professionals. Registrations will be accepted at the door both days.

For additional information and to register for the conference, visit