Thomas Bradley / Campus editor
Fitness classes that previously cost $50 per quarter will now be free for all students beginning Spring Quarter.
The Council on Student Affairs worked with Recreation Sports to determine exactly where the $82 per quarter fee goes, and found that it did not go toward one specific student service.
After talks with Rec Sports and other representatives from the Office of Student Life, CSA wanted to find a direct way to put student dollars into student programming.
“One of the things we looked at was that fitness fee. Students were paying $50 a quarter to participate,” said Brandon Edwards, chair of the Recreational Sports committee representing the Undergraduate Student Government. “After looking at peer institutions, we tried to figure out how to better serve the student population on campus.”
Nick Messenger, USG president, said this is a “big win” for all students, although some students are unhappy about the change.
“(During our campaign) we ran on a platform of making Ohio State more affordable,” Messenger said. “Having fitness classes for free makes it more affordable for every Ohio State student to work out and improve physical fitness … regardless of where they come from.”
Don Stenta, director of Rec Sports, informed Rec Sports employees of the change in an email.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to engage new participants in our group fitness classes,” Stenta said. “At the same time, we want to make it clear that we are looking at ways to hold harmless those who have been dedicated participants during the school year to this point.”
Jo Hirlinger, a first-year in international business, said she purchased the fitness pass the first two quarters she spent at OSU. Hirlinger said she is worried if the classes are free, they will be too crowded for her to get into every class she wants.
“Anyone that buys the fitness class pass feels like they get their money worth out of it,” Hirlinger said.
Under the current system, Rec Sports offers the group fitness classes free for the first and last week of the quarter. Hirlinger said these times are “crazy” for fitness pass holders.
“It’s so crazy so I don’t even go,” Hirlinger said.
Messenger said OSU now has to increase the supply of equipment and resources.
“There are unmet demands when fitness classes are free, like the first week of the quarter,” Messenger said. “We haven’t had to increase supply, because there wasn’t a constant demand for it.”
Corinne Jones, a first-year in anthropology and city and regional planning, agreed with Hirlinger. Jones said she goes to about 50 fitness classes per quarter, and is worried this change will prohibit that from happening.
“Honestly I don’t even go during the first week of the quarter,” Jones said. “There are long lines, and there is not enough equipment.”
Messenger said now OSU will be adding more equipment and classes to meet that demand.
Jones said if the classes are free the entire quarter, she would not go as often as she does now.
“It won’t be worth going to anymore,” Jones said.
The current fee, which is $50 per quarter or $5 per class, is a good price, Jones said.
“It’s such a good system right now, no one is complaining about it,” Jones said. “It’s a bargain.”
Edwards said he understands the concerns of students who think the system should not be changed.
“We’re trying to incorporate as many students into our programming as possible,” Edwards said.
Messenger said the goal is to provide for all students, and to protect current pass holders.
“We’re going to protect those students who are regular users, and we’re taking the next step for students to make this more affordable for everyone,” Messenger said.
Stenta, in his email, said details for how this will happen are still being worked out.
Edwards said he has talked to several students who are very excited about the change to free fitness classes. In the end, Edwards said the goal was to give students more opportunities on campus, and to provide more services to students.
“We had a good cooperative dialogue about these things,” Edwards said. “We hope that students are eager to take advantage of these new opportunities.”