By Julissa James
At the start of this semester, when I learned our school’s fitness center had been renovated, I was ecstatic.
Being active is a crucial part of my existence, not only as a human being, but a student. It relieves heavy amounts of stress I store in my body, releases happy chemicals into my brain and keeps me energized throughout the day — all necessary things to make it out my college experience in one piece.
The trouble is that I’m so busy with all my school-related responsibilities that I find it hard to carve out time for a workout. Plus, there is not much room in my budget for a gym membership. These factors surely affect many Dominguez Hills’ students.
Enter the on-campus fitness center, I genuinely thought it would make my life more convenient.
Well, that wasn’t the case.
I showed up to the fitness center I hadn’t stepped foot in since my freshmen-year kinesiology class, with my running shoes laced and headphones plugged in. It was nothing like the small, dusty gym I remembered.
In a previous statement given to The Bulletin, Athletics Director Jeff Faulkner said this $200,000 makeover was allocated from the university president’s division budget.
It showed; the dust had been replaced by the smell of brand new Dominguez Hills’ stamped equipment.
It was in the evening, and the weight room was crowded with athletes.
Makes sense, I thought to myself, they are athletes, after all.
Before I could even touch a piece of equipment, I was directed to the schedule on the door that listed spring semester fitness center hours for the general population, which are noon to 2 p.m. Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays/Thursdays.
I later found out that kinesiology classes have priority on the center in the morning, and athletes have priority in the afternoons.
So that leaves a time gap of two hours in the middle of the day when many of us, including myself, are stuck in classes.
It’s a bummer, honestly.
I understand that our school is not rolling in cash, but athletics does receive funding from a few entities at this university. Maybe some of that money could go to designating a separate space for athletes to exercise so the general student population could have a chance to do some squats every now and again.
Or here’s a thought: Maybe they could allow student athletes and the rest of the campus community access to the weight room at the same time — that way we all have a fair chance.
I don’t mind sharing.
There’s not much to do about the kinesiology classes since they are a general education requirement, but even if those students only occupied the weight room in the morning, the rest of us could have access to this equipment the rest of the afternoon and evening.
The point is that I pay my part to be at this school and take advantage of all of its resources. Some of the thousands of dollars I pay to be here must go toward keeping that fitness center shiny and new again, so why is my access to it so limited?
I get it. Athletes have to stay in shape and kinesiology students need fair access to the equipment. It still seems to me like a better system is necessary.