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Onward Debate: The Best On-Campus Gym

Penn State is one of the fittest campuses in the nation, and gains like that don’t come without hitting the gym. Luckily our campus is home to three, but choosing between the Intramural Building, White Building, and Rec Hall can be tough.

Our writers debated the pros and cons of each venue and defended their favorites:

Tim Reams — Intramural Building

The IM building is the best gym on campus, hands-down. The range of activities offered is extensive: racquetball, courts, yoga rooms, Ping-Pong areas, boxing rooms, volleyball courts, karate rooms, a plethora of new basketball courts, and the most up-to-date public indoor track on campus, to name a few.

With that said, the sense of community and the helpful, ever-cheerful staff are really what seal the deal for me. Fitness classes, lifting partners, and pick-up games are always available, and often that’s the difference in motivating yourself to workout.

IM might be tucked away on the edge of campus next to East Halls, but the Blue and White Loops both stop in front of the building. Inconvenience is no excuse to count out to the best gym on campus.

Carolyn Popescu — White Building

When I was a freshman, much like Tim Reams, I thought the IM building was the way to go. I lived in the middle-of-nowhere Stone Hall, and the only silver lining to my location was the proximity of the gym.

Though the IM building feels new and squeaky-clean, the White Building has grown on me. This gym is essentially in the center of campus, so no matter where you live or what building your classes are in, it’s always just a few minutes away. You’re going to work out anyway, so why complain about a 15 minute walk?
The White Building offers the biggest variety of fitness classes. Whether you want to chill out with some Yoga with Doug or go crazy at Power Remix, you can bank on a class happening at a time convenient for you. The cardio equipment in the White Building is pretty dated, but it gets the job done. And honestly, a treadmill is a treadmill — you feel like a sweaty hamster either way.
The White Building is the only on-campus gym with a pool. Whether doing sprints or just taking some leisurely laps, this adds a whole new dimension to a fitness center. It also has dance studios, huge gymnasiums, and indoor cycling. Chances are, the White Building has something for you if you’re willing to put up with slightly worn-in equipment.

Jacob Abrams — Rec Hall

When you walk into Rec Hall, you aren’t just going to work out. You’re going for a slice of Penn State history.

Maybe you’re just there to get swole, but Rec Hall is the original Penn State gym.  You get the traditional college atmosphere when you’re there. Just think of your Penn State Dad — he could probably spend hours reciting his greatest Rec Hall memories.

Rec Hall was and is a prime destination for sports. It was home of Penn State basketball at one point, and you can still feel the electric atmosphere at Return to Rec. Penn State calls Rec Hall “one of the oldest and most recognized buildings on campus.” White Building and IM aren’t nearly as iconic as Rec Hall.

Like every gym on campus, you have the fitness center, basketball, racquetball, squash, golf nets, tracks, fitness classes, and a friendly staff. Plus, Rec Hall just got PSU wifi, which is a major key.

There are undeniable common elements shared by all three gyms, but what sets Rec Hall apart from the others is its winning tradition. “[Rec Hall] is home to Penn State Men’s & Women’s Gymnastics, National Champion Men’s & National Champion Women’s Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Soccer and Three-time National Champion Men’s Wrestling,” according to the Penn State Athletics website.

The IM Building might be the newest gym, and White Building may have a swimming pool, but Rec Hall has the tradition and unique atmosphere to set itself apart from the others.

About the Author


Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.


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