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The Eastern Echo Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

Opinion: Eastern Michigan University’s interim gym set-up is less than ideal for students and faculty

The current gym situation at EMU is holding students back during their workouts.

Updated on Feb. 15, 2020: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the gym is free to use. Each student is billed $40 per semester as a REC/IM fee. Students can opt out, losing access to the gym.

By the Fall of 2020, Eastern Michigan University is slated to complete a $16 million renovation of the Rec/IM. In the meantime, students and faculty who use EMU’s gym have been relegated to small rooms that contain only the bare minimum of machines and equipment. This has made it hard for some gym regulars - like myself - to work out, as it is wildly busy at some points in the day.

With the influx of New Year’s Resolutioners, the gym situation has gone from merely tolerable to less than ideal. Students and faculty are holding out for the - hopefully - great renovation to be over in September, but until then the small rooms will probably remain full and confined.

The two main rooms are on the first and second floors and contain a wide variety of different equipment. 

The first floor has two squat bars, one bench press, one incline press, some dumbbells, four individual benches and a small variety of machines.

The second floor has some treadmills, a couple of stair climbers and a comparatively wider variety of machines.

There is also a small new section on the fourth floor that contains some more treadmills, dumbbells and a very small selection of machines.

This puts most of the students who like to lift weights on the first floor, which causes the most backup.

If you’re going to decide to work out in EMU’s interim gyms, you really can’t plan for what you’re going to do that day; odds are, the machine or exercise you want to do will currently be in use. This makes it hard for users to really get any momentum going during a workout, as you must sometimes change your routine in the middle because the machine you were intending to use got taken.

Workouts now have to be tailored to the space instead of the user's preferences. Crowded spaces can also deter new gym users that are afraid of being embarrassed or judged.

As of 2019, there are 15,730 undergraduates that are enrolled at Eastern Michigan. If it was assumed that only 5% of these students use the gym on a consistent basis, then there would be around 786 students that use the gym weekly. That number doesn’t factor in the faculty or university workers that also use the gym. 786 people in one gym throughout the week is a lot. Of course, this assumption is only for painting a picture of the gym situation.

The gym last year was far more suitable, contained more equipment than it does now and provided a good space for getting a work out. If students that live on campus want to work out elsewhere, they must walk across campus to Green Lot, assuming they have a car, and drive to a gym that they must pay for. Knowing this, I don’t think a competent interim gym is a lot to ask for.

In the end, the current gym situation is frustrating. It is too busy for new users and too scarce for regulars. September couldn’t come any faster.