Longwood University strives for it’s students to maintain a balance between mental and physical well-being and health. The Health and Wellness Center is designed to do just that! Many aspects of the center are great, even the fitness floor, which has a wonderful array of cardio and weight equipment. However, the fitness center could be improved in at least one way according to some: give us more hours!
Students have voiced their desire for longer hours in the fitness portion of the center, but no formal suggestion has ever been made about it. Some students deal with rigorous schedules here at Longwood and squeezing in exercise early in the morning or right between day-time classes just doesn’t work. Many of them, like myself, want to get it all done before moving on to our own needs. So, we end up putting exercise and any other personal activities on hold until we are done with school work. This usually leaves us free somewhere between 10pm and later. For those that like to frequent the gym later at night, the problem usually stems from lack of day-time availability. The reasons why some go to the gym late at night are fairly simple: health benefits and stress relief. People want to work off all those late night snack and D-Hall food, or they just need an outlet after staring at a textbook or writing a 10-page paper. It feels good to burn some calories and loosen up the muscles, and night-owls deserve the same opportunity that early birds have as well.
As a daily gym user, I understand first-hand the importance of getting a good workout in at least once a day. Without it, I feel sluggish and my anxiety disorder tends to make me antsy at times. Sometimes I go to the gym during the day, but sometimes I only have time at night. I can usually squeeze in my 35 minutes of high intensity cardio but on some days, like when I race back from my German tutoring job around 9pm to make it to the gym by at least 9:30 (gym closes at 10pm), I’m cutting it close. I hate worrying on some days that I’m not going to get my workout in- it’s one of the only things I have on campus that I consider quality time to myself. So, when I have to stress about fitting this in and racing against the clock, this bothers me. And, I imagine I am not the only one.
So, what’s the solution to the issue? We must demand longer hours! Not quite.
Extending the gym’s hours is not something that can happen in a snap; it would take some strategical planning and honestly, a full-blown extension will never work without a trial-run first. We can’t expect the director’s over at the center to be 100% on board when there’s no real proof to back up the success of such an extension. A trial run is the most reasonable starting point. My proposed trial run would stand for only one week, from Monday-Thursday. The new hours would be from 6:30am-12am, instead of until 10pm.
I thought this was going to be a lot more difficult to launch into action, but after talking to one of the director’s over at the fitness center, Gus Hemmer, I was gladly surprised to hear that the trial run would not be such a big deal. There are at least 3 main issues in regards to the extension, and here I will propose 3 “solutions” to them. I quote the word because the problems really are not as complex as I assumed they would be.
In order to have longer hours the 3 things necessary are:
—Of course, you need people to use the gym as well but the whole point of the trial is to assess people’s usage of the center—
1) Money would not be such a massive issue. According to Mr. Hemmer, and based on my research of the facility already…the center is already energy efficient which cuts down on cost, and cost for power, etc. is already financially covered. Also, Mr. Hemmer said that the lights in the center already stay on until midnight, so having the fitness center open until 12 would not affect electrical costs. (Cost of employees is something I will include in the Staff section, #3)
2) Security would be helpful, although not required. Mr. Hemmer thought it would be a good idea to employ a Longwood police officer to check and watch over the building for the 2 hour extension. This would be of no additional cost to the school or students.
3) Additional staff would be necessary. However, the amount would only be 2 to keep the place running, plus a manager. The additional pay increase would only amount to $13o- that includes both people for one week of late-night work. Mr. Hemmer also admitted that the possibility for employees to resist later hours is possible but that the problem of finding willing workers is really not an issue. He mentioned that issues of scheduling usually arise from student-workers personal schedules, so those who go to class later usually don’t have a problem. Also, he says that he receives about 40 applications per submission period and that there is more than enough people and possibilities for working this shift.
Resistance becomes the biggest issue, as you can see, with relation to staffing which will be addressed in the next blog, but even the director thinks this problem is minimal.
There’s really not much to lose here except maybe 130 extra dollars that will go to hard working college students. If a trial run is feasible and possible, what’s the harm?