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Does Miami’s Rec Center satisfy the needs of the students who use it?

The Miami University Rec Center is an integral part of many students’ schedules on campus. From the workout equipment to basketball courts, pools and the Outdoor Pursuit center, there are plenty of reasons for Miami students to find themselves at our Rec. 

I am there multiple times a week working out and playing basketball, so I am familiar with all it has to offer. 

That being said, does the Rec appropriately accommodate the needs of all of those who use it?

It does not live up to the standards that a university with nearly 20,000 students should achieve, and it seems I may not be alone in this thought. 

Even the popular Instagram account @barstoolredhawks has brought up discontent with Miami’s Rec. They created a “Miami University Alignment” chart, which can be seen on their feed, and placed our recreation center as “chaotic evil.”

The main problem I find with the Rec is the size of the facility. 

As I said above, with 20,000 students we should have a recreation center that accommodates the size and needs of our student body. There is simply not enough space and not enough equipment for everyone who wishes to use the lifting areas. 

There are only nine squat racks, six of which can also be used as bench press stations. For the volume of students, and the popularity of exercises for which these pieces of equipment are used, it is just not enough. There is always a line to use them, even when the Rec is not at its most popular hours. Moreover, there is very little room for stretching, calisthenics or other forms of exercise that are not weight or machine-based. 

I do my best to exercise during non-peak times, yet I still find myself having to change my planned workout most days because I cannot access all of the equipment and spaces I would like to.

During the cold weather, I have been playing basketball multiple times a week with my friends on the courts. There are three courts available, but usually there are only two open because the third is used as a volleyball court. This itself is not a problem, those who want to play volleyball should be able to do so, and the same as those who want to play basketball. 

The problem, again, is that with 20,000 students there should never be a time when there are only two indoor basketball courts available for use. 

However, I never like to be entirely pessimistic. Miami’s Rec Center is not the worst thing in the world. It has plenty of options for students.

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It’s just that in my opinion there is not enough of each option. There are smaller workout facilities across campus – like Clawson Fitness Center. While it’s a convenient option for me and a few others, it’s quite small and gets filled up very quickly with residents of Western Campus. So, like me, many students still prefer to go to the main rec center. 

The quality of the equipment and facilities at the Rec is also not necessarily the issue. It is sufficient enough for how much use gets put into the appliances. For me, the major problem is simply the size. I think that Miami needs to look into expanding the rec center or updating/adding more facilities such as Clawson and North Quad Fitness center. 

While I am by no means an engineer or architect, I believe it would be possible for Miami to expand. There is plenty of room around and behind the rec center that can be utilized.

Miami University, as with all universities, wants its students to be happy and healthy. Physical exercise is one of the best and easiest ways to improve the livelihood of a student body. With larger and more updated facilities, a greater number of students would be inclined to visit the rec center, especially those who still want to make the first step in their fitness journey, but are intimidated by how many people crowd into the gym. 

Tuition money should be put back towards ensuring a great college experience for the students paying it, and improving the Miami University Rec Center would improve the college experience for countless RedHawks.