Megan C's English 400 Proposal

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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.



Comment by Michelle McMaster

September 18, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

I really like your idea so far because I can see how it would be really helpful for busy students. Classes run as late as 9pm so it’d be great to still be able to go to the gym after a late class for people, like me, who prefer to go at night.
As far as the resistance you pointed out about about the later working hours, I’m a desk aide and personally I love the later shifts (desks are open till midnight on weekdays and two am on the weekend) because, for me, the later hours doesn’t detract as much from my day as afternoon shifts do. I think you could definitely battle that resistance through some sort of opinion/doodle poll. And if you look at federal work study capabilities, you could probably prove that it would not cost much extra to keep the gym open if it were students working at night because there is a lot of federal work study money that goes unused by student workers. Just some thoughts, good luck 🙂


Comment by Megan Clements

September 18, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

You brought up a lot of good points! Actually, I did a little pre-“poll” a few weeks ago. I used that Lancer Opinions page. I know, nothing official! but I got a lot of good feedback from students and they mentioned some of the things you did too. How could I go about finding out about these “federal work study” capabilities you mentioned? Is that something I could look at on the web? I’m currently trying to also get an interview with someone in charge at the fitness center. And, I never thought about the fact that we have those late classes here. Good point! In line with that, however, I was thinking similar I guess. I thought that a lot of us usually have pretty demanding schedules and by the time we are done with classes AND homework…the gym is about to close. Thanks!


Comment by Michelle McMaster

September 20, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

Unfortunately, I’m not sure how to research federal work study allotments. The maximum amount a student can receive (just from my experience with work study for the past four years) is $1400 a semester. Some students do receive less, but those numbers are more random and based on personal accounts. I think the best resource would be the financial aid office because work study is through that department. I do know that most students never have a chance to receive that much money because of limits with school schedules, but this all means it should definitely be in the budget to extend gym hours 🙂

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