Megan C's English 400 Proposal

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Blog #3: Fitness Pays Off…But, Who Pays The Price?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Megan Clements at 9:41 pm on Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Maybe the idea of extending Longwood’s Fitness Center hours seems like a nice idea in theory, but who would it affect because that’s an extremely important question. Sure! Fitness is great and having a gym on campus that is open til’ late would be something worth bragging about to others, but it is one thing to explore an idea and another to actually put it in motion. Any plan within reason can be possible…however, it requires people to make it happen. Who would have to be sold on the idea of hour extensions in the fitness center in order for it to be even a twinkle in our eyes: 1) The gym’s users- if there is nobody using it, what would be the point in having extra hours? 2) Gym Faculty- managers, staff and facility/maintenance workers need to be in-the-know or else the gym ceases to function and 3) Security personnel- like police officers, because someone has to make sure a late-night facility runs without putting the university at risk of liability for people’s foolishness.

Users (predominately students- some professors/ university staff) matter in this situation for the obvious reason that they are the consumer. They are the ones that pay (swipe) to get into the gym and are also the target group that the fitness center aims to better in wellness and health. In 2008, 1 year after it’s grand opening  on August 24, 2007 it was recorded that about 560 students used the gym daily (Caldwell). Now, without having access to more recent data it is hard to claim what the numbers are years later in 2013 but with the fact that the school experiences a constant increase in population, it is easy to see that the numbers might have bumped up since then, and with more variety there will surely be more people with crazy schedules that cannot always go at reasonable hours. Students need as much of a chance as they can get to blow off steam.

Faculty and security are the two other key players here, because without them the idea of a gym with extended hours will remain just that: an idea. Faculty and security are what will keep the center running smoothly and safely. Faculty will have two main concerns:

1) Cost

2) Liability

As far as cost is concerned, it may not be as expensive as some might argue. First, there is the fact that the facility has been certified as GOLD by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) (Health and Fitness Center). This means that the building is equipped with tools necessary to deem it sustainable. The center is, among other aspects, water and energy efficient (Health and Fitness Center) and this reduces both excess water and electricity use.

 

Visit LEED and see what they’re about: http://www.usgbc.org/leed

 

If the gym were to be open longer, the idea would be to simplify it’s operation. So, all of it’s parts would not be open to student use after normal running hours (i.e. fitness classes/rooms and the basketball court or upstairs track. The gym would be limited to the main floor where the weights and cardio equipment areThe late-night shift would be minimized to cardio, strength and free weights- the basics for fitness. If the gym is already efficient in water and electrical use, the addition of 3-4 hours would not effect cost in such an extreme way.

As far as liability is concerned, Longwood can go 1 of 2 ways. They could employ a small late-night staff, the required 2 person minimum, of students willing to work for a little extra money and could improve security and have the center function on a more independent level as do many gyms of a similar concept. This would require less student workers (so they would not have to give away more money). Of course, something will have to stand in for the security that will be missing from the gym if employees are not present or scarce. An automated security system would have to be established. That means: at least one security guard both in and outside the building at all times, additional cameras and the use of a security key process to enter the building. This would would great because Longwood already uses such systems with all of the buildings already: you swipe your card and you enter. The fitness center even has it (on the inside), so it would only be a matter of installing one security swipe on the outside of the building.

 

Security Card Swipe System- Creative Commons

In my hometown, we have a gym called Anytime Fitness and they are starting to appear all over the place. The concept is quite similar to what I have just explained. In an article, Pat van den Beemt describes the flexibility of Anytime Fitness: “The gym is staffed 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Fridays; and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sat. The rest of the time, members use their electronic keys to enter the building. Security cameras are in the parking lot and in the gym” (den Beemt). One member of a Jacksonville branch claims it to be a “proven success” (den Beemt). Although Anytime Fitness is a 24/7 gym, it is a good model to observe when considering how the school could go about a similar addition.

So, let’s not deceive ourselves here. Somewhere, somehow, somebody is going to have to pitch in for the center to have longer hours, but it seems that Longwood has already taken strides that could allow the possibility of an extension to become a feasible reality.

Anytime Fitness Interior- Creative Commons

 

Works Cited:

Caldwell, Gina. “Creating a Fit U.” longwood.edu. Spring 2008. Web. 25 September 2013.

den Beemt, Pat van. “Anytime Fitness, a 24/7 gym, opens in Jacksonville.” North County News. 13 September 2012. Web. 25 Septemb-          er 2012.

Health and Fitness Center. Longwood University. n.d. Web. 25 September 2013.

 

Megan Clements.

 

Blog #2: Issue History- Sweating the Stress Away

Filed under: Uncategorized — Megan Clements at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Whether or not Longwood University needs a 24/7 gym is highly debatable, but students on campus voice their opinions daily and it seems important to at least pay attention to those voices which express the desire for longer hours in the Health and Fitness center. Longwood’s Fitness center was first created back in 2007 and is open for 95 hours out of the week. That’s a pretty good amount considering the 168 hours that a week consists of; it’s more than half the hours in the week, to be exact! But, still I hear students continually suggest the hours be extended. When I started thinking about what I wanted to write about for my proposal, it took me some time to make the decision…but what really got me interested was when I did my own sort of test to see if the audience existed for such a proposal. I went onto Facebook and went to Lancer Opinions, asked them to post a discussion question: What would you think of having a gym that’s 24/7? The responses grew quickly for about an hour, until the question most likely faded from everyone’s news feed. People came forth with excited reactions considering such an idea. I was surprised that people really existed out there that would want to go to the gym at 1 am or 4 am. It seems insane, and of course dancing with the idea of a 24/7 gym is not the main focus here but what people had to say offered some knowledge as to why students could use, at least, extended hours in the center. They also offered some pretty neat solutions to various problems that would arise because of an extension….

Lancer Opinions Page: https://www.facebook.com/lanceropinions?fref=ts

It seems that students either: 1) Find themselves stressed frequently or, 2) Have crazy schedules that don’t allow for normal-time-of-the-day access to the gym. Students find themselves working into the late hours of the night, especially around exam times and after a long 3 hour session of cramming and violent snacking…some want to work it off: the food and the stress levels. Some students say that they get restless at odd hours of the night and look to the gym to blow off steam and energy. Unfortunately, the gym is not open late enough for them to work off whatever’s bothering them. Other students have demanding schedules with demanding work loads, so by the time that they are finished with both school and homework…it’s already too late to work out!

Stressed Student- Creative Commons

In an interview regarding the opening of the center the  former Longwood President, Patricia Cormier, said: “We believe that this new center will shape the mind, body, and spirit – the whole person, if you will, and that has always been a goal of higher education” (Caldwell). The intentions for this fitness center it seems have always been to better the students in mind and body. The center has so much to offer in its 7500 square foot facility (Caldwell)…cardio and strength equipment, a track, various classes, several basketball courts and a weight room to get specific.

With that being said, if the goal is to improve the quality of student health here at Longwood, let’s all do what we can to achieve that goal! Although the center provides a decent chunk of hours to the student body (and faculty) to use the center, people still want more. They want more because we are in the type of environment that requires more: more time, more energy, more work, more more more! If we have a community that requires more, we should consider giving them more. If the goal of higher education is anything like Cormier envisioned, then we need to do all we can to preserve it.

Article Citation:

Caldwell, Gina. “Creating a Fit U: Longwood Debuts New Health and Fitness Center”. Spring 2008. Web.

 

Megan Clements.

 

Blog #1- Defining the Issue: Longwood’s Need for Extended Fitness Center Hours

Filed under: Uncategorized — Megan Clements at 10:16 pm on Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Although we may see Longwood’s fitness center as convenient and every-day establishment, it was not always so. The center is quite new with it’s construction occurring only two years prior to 2008. Before that, Longwood’s idea of fitness was rather scattered, there was never before one cohesive and all-inclusive building in which the students could easily frequent that had all the amenities that the current fitness center provides- and the list is extensive. There is so much to do at the fitness center that hours are quite extensive as well, running from: 6:30 am-10 pm Monday-Thursday,  6:30 am-8 pm Friday, 9 am- 8 pm Saturday and 1 pm- 10 pm Sunday. Longwood students appreciate the gym. The center is a bustling place from the early hours of the day until it closes and the students have the staff to thank for it, but still there is something many Longwood students believe would make this already wonderful establishment even better: extended hours.

But! Longwood already has long hours, some may say. Why should it stay open even longer? Who’s going to want to work a later shift? Is it going to cost a substantially higher amount to maintain these hours? And, what sort of extension are we talking here? Perhaps 2-3 hours to start, which could in turn reveal an even greater need for something like a 24/7 fitness center- but that’s extremely speculative….These, and more, are all very valid points and something to be deeply considered when discussing alterations to a business structure. After all, the fitness center is not just a place where students can go to get fit, de-stress, and build a healthy image…it is also a place that students go to work and make money, and a place where other non-student faculty work to make a living as well. However, despite these road blocks, the idea and possibility for Longwood’s gym to extend it’s hours is not impossible and could benefit different student’s in various ways. College is a place where tensions run high and as students we are constantly faced with deadlines, deadlines, and more deadlines! These deadlines tend to keep us up until ridiculous hours of the night and, sometimes, day. A good reducer of stress is….? You guessed it! Exercise. Not only does exercise reduce stress, but it may also improve cognition and the ability to retain and learn information…Relaxed, happier and smarter students means decreased stress levels, higher levels of academic achievement and perhaps even a more amiable and docile roommate for any non-fitness center goers.

In an article from the “Educational Psychology Review”, Phillip D. Tomporowski, Catherine L. Davis, Patricia H. Miller and Jack A. Naglieri collaborate to explore and describe how exercise may increase a child’s cognition, intelligence and academic achievement. The study, of course, focuses on children but it derives these new and speculative studies from earlier studies regarding the same topic
in adults. These earlier studies show that there is a profound link between exercise and superior or improved cognition through tests of “executive function” (113). These tests required groups of adults to undergo aerobic or non-aerobic exercise and then they were assessed based on a few variables of cognition imperative to memory and processing, updating and rejecting information (113). The studies showed that exercise did indeed improve these abilities. Observers now believe that, like adults, exercise plays a key role in childhood cognition as well, stating that physical activity produces elements in the brain that “…regulate the survival, growth and differentiation of neurons during development” (113). They are still working out the kinks as far as childhood cognition and development go, but studies do show that for adults exercise is essential to cognition. As students in a rigorous academic setting, we depend on this, and we always require the agents of exercise that allow us to mentally relax from all the stress that accrue in our daily lives.

A fitness center with longer hours has its downs: a little more money, a little more time and a little more effort. However, the outcome of a fitness center even more dedicated to health and well-being will make the university a happier and healthier place.

Article Citation:

Phillip D. Tomporowski, Catherine L. Davis, Patricia H. Miller and Jack A. Naglieri

Educational Psychology Review, Vol. 20, No. 2  (2008), pp. 111-131.\
Megan C.