The Western recreational center needs to be fixed

Jiana Barrera, Courier Staff

As a college student, it can be difficult balancing school and health all at once. On campus, Western Illinois University provides students with a recreation center that is open to all students on and off campus.

The rec center includes lifting areas, intramural sports and an aquatics center. Although this gym is open to all students to get physical activity done weekly, I also believe that Western needs to make many improvements to the recreation center or open another facility that is similar on campus. One downfall to the rec center is that the sauna area has been closed all semester. Although it may be broken, having it completely out of use for an entire semester reflects poorly on the university. Not only has the sauna area been out of use, but it seems like equipment across the entire rec center is consistently out of order or broken. This can be an inconvenience for many students that tend to workout daily or have a weekly workout schedule that they abide by. These points are not the only problems that could be solved in the rec center by the university.

There is also an issue with availability and access in the gym for machines and other areas that are offered. The rec center only possesses two squat racks and four bench presses in the main lifting area. According to the Western Illinois University website, the total student enrollment for full and part time graduates and undergraduates in Fall 2019 is over 7,000 students. Considering that not all people attending this university are engaged in physical activity weekly, I believe that having two squat racks and four bench presses is an inconvenient number seeing that we have this many students. From my personal experiences, I have gone to the rec center to work a specific muscle group and it has taken me much longer to complete my lifts due to the lack of machines and equipment. I believe this issue can be resolved if the university invests more money into the rec center. For instance, the gym does not offer a wide variety of machines for students to use during their lifts. Most machines in the back half of the gym are almost the same machines as the free weight. Not only is the lack of machines an issue, but the schedules of the power lifting area are also problematic. The power lifting area is only open during certain hours of the day which can be conflicting for students’ lifting schedules. Most students lift before or after their classes and schoolwork is done which brings me to my point that availability is a key issue with some of the rec center’s problems. This matter can be fixed if they hired more staff to allow longer hours, or if they were to put up risk and liability notices to allow students to lift at their free will. All in all, the university rec center is one of the most used assets on campus. Allowing students to practice a healthy lifestyle along with getting an education is crucial. By fixing and addressing these main problems at the university rec center, I believe that the students’ overall satisfaction with the university will improve. This will also improve Western’s recruitment process while giving tours to incoming students.

Hopefully, Western Illinois University will invest more time and money into one of their most important assets on campus.