Matthew Mithoefer / Lantern photographer
More students are working out at on-campus facilities this school year.
About 9,700 more students swiped into Ohio State’s recreational sports facilities in the first two weeks of Fall Semester compared to numbers from the same period in Fall Quarter 2011, said Don Stenta, director of recreational sports with the Office of Student Life.
This fall, there have been 7,580 more students at the RPAC, 1,803 more at Jesse Owens South and 323 more at Jesse Owens North, Stenta said.
“It’s been fascinating to see our visits to all of our facilities are up by all categories of students, undergraduate, graduate, professional students, swiping into our facilities,” Stenta said. “We are seeing a very significant amount of people participating in group fitness classes … (and) numbers with intramurals have increased almost all across the board.”
There are now 30 more group fitness classes offered per week, as well as new special event fitness classes that are based on popular themes to draw in more students.
“We’ve got a themed class around ‘The Hunger Games’ that will involve archery and the climbing wall, we’re doing a class on Oct. 16 (National Bosses Day), so we’re doing a ‘Take Your Boss to a Kickbox Class,'” Stenta said. “(We’re) really trying to think of what are all the different sort of wonderful opportunities that are out there for students to realize that we have these great fitness classes and that they can participate.”
Some students have noticed the university’s efforts to improve the quality of workouts.
“We used to go to a lot of the fitness classes and, I think, it’s definitely not as busy because they either time it out more or offer more classes that a lot of people want to go to,” said Jenna Moulton, a third-year in international studies. “So that’s been a good change because we used to have to wait forever in line to get into the classes.”
Stenta said the recreational sports office has also gotten rid of the fee for participating in group fitness classes, which might account for some of the increased participation. Spring Quarter, fitness classes that previously cost students $50 to attend for a quarter or $5 per class, became free to all students.
“We’re looking at students who are more mindful of wanting to participate in physical activity, but then the fact that there’s no longer an additional charge for group fitness, I think, has made it very, very attractive,” Stenta said.
Students who want to attend group fitness classes are required to activate their BuckID and sign a waiver at the RPAC Welcome Center before attending any sessions. Stenta said, by this point in the year, activations increased by 1,287 over last year. Students who had activated their BuckIDs last year need to reactivate their BuckIDs to participate this year.
Part of the change in gym turnout might also be accounted for by the increase in the number of Friday classes. The first three Fridays of last year compared to the first three of this year showed that 2,193 more students swiped in.
“There’s, I think, a direct correlation between more Friday classes being offered, because students are more engaged on campus and they’re going to go ahead and get their workout in. That also includes a Labor Day weekend Friday,” which was not a factor that affected last year’s numbers, Stenta said.
Some students agreed that being on campus more has contributed to an increase in use of campus recreational facilities.
“The JO building is located so conveniently to the optometry building that I literally park in this lot and it’s on my way to my car,” said Whitney Lamb, a third-year in optometry.
The busiest times for the gym facilities have changed as well. The most popular time to swipe in is from the 45 minute to the hour mark of each hour, Stenta said.
“I think definitely in the afternoons it gets a lot busier, just because people have class in the middle of the day, whereas last quarter, I felt like it was busier around noon or so,” Moulton said.
Stenta said the change from quarters to semesters has been without issue.
“I don’t believe we’ve had any changes or glitches at all as it relates to converting to semesters,” Stenta said. “There’s been nothing but really a lot of excitement on our end with the fact that we’ve been really busy.”