By KATE SELTZER
With the semester starting back up, as students are getting back into the swing of things, returning students may notice a change at the fitness center when they go to sign up for any of the various group fitness classes. In previous years these classes were free, however, due to an increase in demand and popularity, beginning this year students will be asked to pay a fee of $10. This new fee, which only needs to be paid one time, will grant students unlimited access to all of the group fitness classes for the duration of the school year.
Assistant Director for Fitness and Wellness, Brittanie Haas, summarized the reasoning behind the change in policy as a result of the increase in demand for these classes. When group fitness classes initially became available at UMW, there were only eight weekly classes from which students could choose. With increased popularity and demand for a greater variety of exercise, over time that schedule has expanded to 37 classes per week.
“The University can’t continue to meet the demand with $0 of revenue,” said Haas.
Last year alone, Campus Recreation spent $21,000 on payroll for instructors to teach 945 UMW students. This year, the department hopes to raise about half of that amount through the added fee. Their goal is for the additional funds to provide a sustainable budget for better quality and more frequent classes, as well as more routine equipment replacement.
A similar fee will be implemented to play intramural sports. In the past students had to pay fees of varying amounts for each individual intramural sport they played, this year, there will be a one-time fee of $10 which will cover all sports throughout the year
“Our hope is that this will help streamline the process,” said Haas.
Revenue generated from this fee will be used to provide higher quality and more professional officials to referee games, as well as encouraging staff to stick around for longer.
Students have mixed reactions to the one time fee. Junior Rona Randall attended a free introductory class, but is uncertain if she will sign up for more.
“Money doesn’t grow on trees,” Randall said. “I’m going to have to work things around and see if I’m going to [sign up for more classes].”
Seniors Kristen Neitc and Matt Martinez took a similar stance. Neitc said she would be uncomfortable asking her parents to cover the additional cost in addition to other college fees.
Martinez feels the fee may discourage students from signing up for classes. Freshmen students have an open mind about the fee.
“It’s a good deal,” said freshmen Claudia Keller. Tatjana Farjadi, also a freshman, agreed that the price was reasonable in comparison to previous fitness memberships.
“I think it’s pretty cheap, because I used to have a lifetime fitness membership that was about $70 a month and that was way too expensive and I had to cancel it, and this is great,” said Farjadi. “It would be great if it was free but I don’t think it’s that much money.”
While some are against it, there are upperclassmen like junior Emma Baumgardner who feel that the price is fairly reasonable.
“Five dollars a semester isn’t too bad,” said Baumgardner. “It would be nice if it was free, but I get that they have to pay the people who are [teaching] the classes and money has to come from somewhere.”