Daily Egyptian

Group fitness classes to be free next semester

Daily Egyptian file photo.

Daily Egyptian file photo.

By Cory Ray, @coryray_DE

The Recreation Center today announced the elimination of $25 group fitness pass fee next semester.

While patrons will no longer have to pay for activities such as Zumba, where an instructor leads a group in exercise, less classes will be offered. Recreation Center Director Troy Vaughn said there are about 45 to 50 classes per week, but about 35 will be offered next semester.

Sally Wright, associate director of programs at the Recreation Center, said the reduction of classes allowed the center to eliminate the fee. 

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A schedule of classes has yet do be decided, but Wright said the popularity of classes and heavy traffic times at the center are being considered to maximize student use. 

Group fitness passes were created in spring 2013 to offset costs such as paying class instructors. However, because of decreasing participation, the center looked at other ways it could better provide services to students. 

During the first two or three weeks of each semester, group fitness classes are free to Recreation Center members and Vaughn said participation is so strong that many classes are completely filled. But, he said, the amount of participation drops significantly. Wright also said about 600 passes were sold in fall 2014, compared to about 400 this semester. 

Tori Gusewelle, a senior from Worden studying human nutrition and dietetics, said she’s noticed a decrease in class sizes since she started instructing a year ago, and after free trial periods end.

“Last semester was a lot better,” Gusewelle said. “As soon as the free passes are over, there’s less than half the people usually for most of the passes.”

Because group classes see a lot traffic in the first few weeks of school before the passes go into effect, Wright anticipates having free classes throughout the year may lead to overcrowding and people may need to be turned away because of class capacity limits. Wright said students can sign up online to ensure their spot.

Wright anticipates the potential for overcrowding with free classes because of heavy attendance in previous free trial period classes. She said to avoid turning attendees away, peoples will be able to reserve a spot in classes online.

Gusewelle expects the numbers of participants to rise next semester.

“As a college student, I think a lot of people will find an excuse not to do something — just the idea that they have to go upstairs to get a fitpass kind of keep them from doing that,” Gusewelle said. “And, of course, the financial situation there makes a difference. It’s easier for them to make excuses not to go to classes, but this kind of takes that away.”

Offering free classes will not change the student Recreation Center fee, Wright said. 

Although instructors may see a reduction in the number of classes they teach, Vaughn said no positions will be terminated. He said assistants will now help instructors in more popular classes such as zumba and basic aerobics, which will allow some student employees to continue working.

“This is beyond the money,” Vaughn said. “This is about getting our patrons and our students participating and being involved — particularly with all the stress students have today with classes and homework and social activities. We need to be providing the best possible opportunities for recreation for our people. 

Cory Ray can be reached [email protected] or 536-3326 

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