Students consider SRC Fee, use the gym to their benefit
By Jessica Herzog
Sun Star Reporter
Most students are required to pay the $75 Student Recreation Center fee each semester. Some do so willingly, while others express frustration. However, the fee has purpose and gym use benefits students.
Students taking nine or more credits pay the $75 fee each semester, which was passed by students, Mark Oldmixon, director of the UAF Department of Adventure, Recreation, and Wellness (DRAW) said. It resembles a mortgage, covering the cost of the facility’s construction bond. Regardless, some students dislike the fee.
“I don’t like any fees,” Heni Barnes, a UAF freshman, said. She would exchange the fee payment for a food stipend if she never visited the gym. Svea Southall, another UAF student, said paying the SRC fee is “unfair to people who don’t go at all.” Students without cars on campus don’t pay for a parking pass, so people who don’t utilize the SRC shouldn’t have to pay the fee, she said.
Although these students dislike the fee, they appreciate the SRC. It is a “really nice facility,” Southall said. According to the DRAW website, the SRC has welcomed gym-goers to its 55,799 square foot area since 1994. It houses three basketball courts, a weight room, fitness studio, rock climbing wall, cardio equipment and a one-eighth mile running track. These amenities are available once people pay the fee or purchase day passes. Also, the fee allows s tudents access to the climbing tower, Patty Pool, Patty Ice Arena and Hulbert Nanook Terrain Park, Oldmixon said. Experiencing these things is not free. Some students use the gym to their advantage despite the fee.
Dr. BJ Aldrich, Director of the UAF Health and Counseling Center, said students use the gym to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Students also experience diversity at the SRC, Kaydee Miller, SRC Assistant Director of Wellness, said. She is happy to present students with a social atmosphere and the “opportunity in college to establish healthy routines.”
For some students , using the SRC changed their life. Franklin Cederstrom, a freshman in mechanical engineering, plays intramural hockey and attends the gym nearly every day. He broke his back in 23 places during a snow machining accident, causing doctors to think he would never walk again. However, lifting weights and playing sports aided his recovery. He is now close to the physical condition he was in before the injury, living with less pain, he said. He beat the odds and came out on top, he said, because he overlooked the fee and used the SRC to his benefit.
The gym influences masses of people. In the past year 3,740 students who paid the fee visited the gym, Oldmixon said. During the spring 2015 semester, 425 students participated in intramural sports, Miller said. Additionally, according to a PowerPoint entitled “The Benefits of Campus Recreation” by Dr. Forrester for the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, 90 percent of students say campus recreation will help them stay healthy after graduation.
Recreation facilities also influence students “to continue attending their chosen college,” Forrester said. Influencing others and benefiting them for their future is a positive outcome of paying the SRC fee.
“The SRC fee could be a little less,” Elizabeth Hanson, a photography student, said. However, the fee might encourage students to use the facility they paid for, she said. “Some people will not have gym access this readily available to them in their lives for a while,” Hanson said.
Until the bond expires in 2018, students will continue to pay the SRC fee. After the bond expires, university administration or students decide the future of the fee, Oldmixon said. However, he believes fee payment should continue. “While the bond expires in 2018, the building does not. It will require repairs and maintenance,” he said. Furthermore, the gym is not fully functional at its current size. Continuing the $75 fee to save for use towards expanding the SRC “would be wise,” he said.
Jessica Herzog, journalism student, is a student employee at the Student Recreation Center.