Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

GET BUSY

Summer is here. Suntan oil is bought in bulk, string bikinis and waxed surfboards awaken from their winter slumber, and New Year’s Resolutions continue to be met by dieting and exercising every waking minute of the day. “My resolution [was] to join a gym near campus,” says FAU student Thomas Contri. “After Thanksgiving and Christmas all I think about is getting back into shape.” According to the Pioneer Press, college students like Contri spend an estimated $1,000 on gym memberships each year, hoping to fulfill their resolutions to stay fit. What many FAU students do not know, however, is that there is a local fitness center included in semester fees. The Department of Campus Recreation, located in the athletic field house on the northwest corner of the Boca Raton campus, not only has a fitness center but also an arena, an aquatic complex, an intramural field and track, and accommodations for club sports. “Campus recreation provides the FAU community with a variety of recreation opportunities throughout the year,” says Director of Campus Recreation Eric Hawkes. “We hope that the programs and services will connect, inform and inspire students to lead active and healthy lifestyles.” The fitness center provides a variety of strength training and cardiovascular equipment, including free weights, treadmills, Stairmasters and Elliptical Trainers. Hawkes says this new equipment, provided by Student Government funding, has allowed the fitness center to double in participation levels – an estimated 600 students come in each day. With a valid FAU ID, students can access these facilities, along with group exercise classes that run throughout the week. Experienced instructors who accommodate each individual’s fitness level teach the classes, which include yoga, dance aerobics, pilates and cardio kickboxing, Hawkes says. Psychobiology student Amy Herzog took yoga at the fitness center for over a year. “The instructor was very positive and helpful,” she says. “It was the most incredible experience and I have since continued to love yoga.” For students who enjoy staying active by playing games rather than by doing the “Sun Salutation,” FAU’s 18,000-square-foot arena has three basketball and volleyball courts and a performance studio used for fitness programming, club sports and informal recreation. FAU student Rick Smith takes advantage of the arena, but thinks that some changes need to be made. “I was involved with a volleyball team last year, but I would like to see the availability of indoor volleyball for practice, not just for play,” he says. Some changes are being planned. Hawkes is working toward a new design for the recreation center that he hopes will be ready in the Fall of 2007. “Colleges and universities across the country are spending millions of dollars to build recreation facilities to help recruit and retain students on their campuses,” Hawkes says. “We too, will be designing and building over the next two years. The opportunity is extremely exciting.” Outdoor facilities are of large importance to the department as well. FAU’s aquatic complex, located just outside the athletic field house, includes a 50-meter and 25-yard lap pool. The outdoor pools, used by the FAU Swimming and Diving Team, are also available to students interested in doing laps. Other outdoor facilities include lighted basketball and tennis courts and a recreational track and field. Many intramural and club sports members use the field for daily practice in sports such as flag football and rugby. Rugby President David Wilkinson says that the sport brings students together as friends, not just teammates. “Rugby embraces a number of social and emotional concepts such as courage, loyalty, sportsmanship, discipline and teamwork,” he says. “It is because of, not despite, rugby’s intensely physical and athletic aspects that such great camaraderie exists in its players.” Many other club sports are keeping students involved in campus recreation as well, including Skydive FAU, fencing and ice hockey. The FAU Owls Ice Hockey Club is one of the largest clubs on campus, according to General Manager Lawrence Lavender. “In 2004 we finished the regular season ranked number nine in the nation,” Lavender says. “We play very competitive hockey.” The team’s success exemplifies what can happen when a club is created by an FAU student. Although some club sports such as ice hockey have a competitive edge, many range in what they have to offer, from friendly practice games for beginners to nationwide tournaments for experts. “We provide equipment for beginners so that no one has to buy their own gear until they’ve decided to stick with the sport,” says Fencing Club President Antonio Maley. “We have both competitive and non-competitive members and we regularly host tournaments at FAU and travel to other tournaments around the state.” The department’s online forms make it easy to join and create intramural and club sports. “The Department of Campus Recreation has done a great job at helping to streamline the processes that are involved with club sports,” says Wilkinson. “There is still a long way to go. One problem we see is that the department is undermanned.” Campus Recreation hires employees on a continual basis as needed, with peak hiring times during the first week of classes for the Fall and Spring semesters. The department offers flexible hours and extensive training in positions including facility guest service hosts, intramural sports officials, lifeguards and group exercise instructors. “Student employees are the most critical part of our operation,” says Hawkes. “Our student staff members play a valuable role by providing excellent customer service. In turn, the department provides its student employees with valuable work experience, competitive wages and life-long learning opportunities.” Aside from being understaffed, the department has an even bigger issue – many students do not know it exists. Even with all it has to offer, students are still spending hundreds of dollars on gym memberships because they do not know that Campus Recreation fees are included in tuition costs. Psychology student Perla Alzate agrees that the department’s benefits should be advertised so that all students have the opportunity to use the facilities. “They need to put it out there, let people know where they are located and what they do and offer,” she says. “I did not even know it existed and I am a senior.” Smith agrees. “The atmosphere is positive, but there needs to be more involvement,” he says. Hawkes is hoping that the new Student Recreation and Wellness Center opening in the Fall of 2007 will boost attendance. The project, which is being fully funded through Capital Improvement Trust Funds, will cost an estimated $6.8 million. Within the 32,000-square-foot facility will be a fitness center, a group exercise studio, a lobby area, locker rooms, equipment checkout area and administrative offices. “It will be relatively small for a university recreation facility but it’s a good starting point for FAU,” Hawkes says. “As we move forward with the design of the new student recreation center, it will be imperative to our success that student voices shape the future of the facility and the department overall.”

For more information visit www.fau.edu/campusrec.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Do you have something to say? Submit your comments below
All UNIVERSITY PRESS Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *