Campus Gyms Leave Much to be Desired

There are roughly 44,000 students at Penn State, but we only have two legitimate gyms to pick from: Rec Hall or the White Building. Rec Hall’s maximum occupancy is 240 — the White Building is 210. Essentially, if only one out of 100 Penn State students go to the gym at the same time, both facilities would be at capacity. That just isn’t enough space.

During the first week of this semester, I waited in a line of around 100 people for roughly 40 minutes at the White Building. I worked out for 45 minutes and realized afterward what a complete waste of time that had been. Even when you get into the weight room, it’s  still overflowing with people and you find yourself waiting again to use the machines.

I know what some of you may be thinking; “Why didn’t you go to Rec Hall?” Well, Rec Hall isn’t exactly across the street from my apartment, and it’s freezing outside. The only other options are the Fitness Loft, which only offers cardio machines, or the IM Building. If you’ve ever been to the IM Building, you know there isn’t a whole lot to work with.

Rec Hall’s workout facility is bigger and some would argue nicer than the White Building’s. But why would you build the bigger gym in a corner of campus and the smaller one at the center?

This summer, the White Building closed for about two months for renovations. They put in a new floor and replaced the majority of the benches. If you didn’t know they were renovating, you probably wouldn’t have noticed the changes. I thought maybe they were doing some sort of an expansion, but I guess that was just wishful thinking.

It’s common for students to forgo the gym because they refuse to wait in a line. But can you blame them? Sometimes it’s tough to make time to get a workout in, let alone wait in ridiculous lines. Many students pay extra money to use an off campus gym, such as Lion Heart, to avoid the wait. If other options like that didn’t exist, the line at the White Building would consistently be up the stairs and out the door.

In order to even set foot in the weight room, you must first purchase a membership. Shouldn’t my tuition or student activity grant me gym access, like most other colleges around the nation?

I really think that we need to either expand the White Building or add an additional gym on campus. We are Penn State and we have a reputation for doing things bigger and better, but we’re being outdone in the fitness department. Ohio State has five recreational facilities on campus and the membership fee is taken out of the tuition.  They are even ranked as the college with the third best gyms in America by OnlineUniversities.com. Ohio State being better in anything doesn’t sit well with me.

I find it hard to believe that Penn State can’t get the funding to better the fitness facilities. Obviously you could make the argument that there are other things that need to be done around campus that would take precedence to building another gym, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is long overdue. Is a little more workout space too much to ask for?

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