Marissa Fretes: Work out gym hours to reflect student schedules

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Marissa Fretes

As someone who has been semi-regularly going to the gym for the past two weeks, one thing about the Lerner Health and Wellness Center has consistently stood out to me – and it’s not the steep price of a pass to take weekly Hip Hop HUSTLE classes.

It’s the gym’s seemingly arbitrary hours.

You’d think the gym would be open often enough to be useful to students, many of whom work or intern on top of classes. Yet it stays open on weekend evenings when most students are anywhere but the gym.

Mondays through Fridays, the gym stays open from 6:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. It opens a little later on Saturdays, at 9 a.m., but closes earlier at 8 p.m.

The gym opens much later on Sundays, at 11 a.m., and shuts its doors at 11:30 p.m.

The University should look into closing the gym earlier on Fridays and Saturdays, and keeping it open later in the week and earlier on Sundays.

If we lived in a perfect world, Lerner would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and we would all have the power of flight. But our world is, of course, far from perfect.

And Lerner’s hours for most of the workweek make a lot of sense. But I’m not shocking anyone when I say that a typical Monday for students is not the same as a typical Friday. The gym hours on these two days should change to reflect that.

I’m not the only one to notice this issue. Over the past few months, the Student Association has been working on making the gym more accessible. There have been “several meetings between students and administrators” regarding Lerner’s hours, according to Associate Athletic Director for Health and Wellness Andre Julien.

But SA President Ashwin Narla told me that the reason meetings haven’t resulted in significant change thus far is because financial costs of maintaining a 24-hour gym are too expensive.

And making the gym stay open longer is also out of the question: “We just don’t see the demand in terms of actual users to extend the hours,” Julien told me in an email.

Lerner sees some of its slowest periods during Friday and Saturday evenings, Narla said – when students are out partying and socializing with friends, and the last thing on their mind is a treadmill.

So here’s a solution: Lerner could close earlier during the weekends, so that those hours can be shifted to periods when students are more likely to want to workout during the week.

Especially during these cold winter months, those who are itching for a weekday midnight run are either forced to brave the weather, or forget about getting exercise. But working out late into the evenings or in the mornings isn’t a possibility right now when Lerner closes at 11:30 p.m. on the weekdays and opens at 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Monday is the busiest day at the gym, often seeing up to 2,700 students. Hours subtracted from weekend evenings should be shifted to later in the night during the workweek, to further accommodate the busy lives of students – including those who work at the gym.

These changes would make sense, given that oftentimes on Friday and Saturday nights, fewer than five students use the gym in the couple of hours before closing, according to Narla.

If the University wants students to go to Lerner, it should probably be open when students aren’t at a frat party.

Marissa Fretes, a sophomore majoring in English, is a Hatchet columnist.

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