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UA Rec Center works to cater to faculty, staff needs

Savannah Douglas
Savannah Douglas/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Eric Volvari (left) and Andrew Baccaro (right), both seniors at the University of Arizona, leave the Student Recreation Center on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013.

The UA Student Recreation Center issued a survey to random faculty members last Tuesday to get feedback on how to improve the facilities for UA faculty.

Only a small percentage of UA faculty members use the facilities at the Rec Center, according to Lynn Zwaagstra, the director of Campus Recreation. In an effort to show that the center is not just for students, a survey is being collected through Sept. 20 regarding how the Rec Center can better cater to the needs of UA faculty and staff.

The survey asks about barriers that prevent faculty from wanting to use the facilities as well as open ended questions for voicing concerns. Zwaagstra said many faculty members gave the Rec Center feedback when the center conducted a student survey a year ago about Rec Center usage.

The Rec Center worked with Student Affairs Assessment to produce the survey, which pulled random sample sets. Out of 14,000 UA faculty members, 6,500 faculty emails were selected for the survey, according to Zwaagstra.

When it was announced in a Lo Que Pasa article that the survey would be conducted for faculty, Zwaagstra said Rec Center got emails within an hour from people interested in taking the survey.
The biggest reason faculty may be less inclined to use the facilities is its title — the Student Recreation Center, Zwaagstra said.

Other concerns of faculty members include limited parking space, unwanted student interaction and privacy with the locker rooms, according to Zwaagstra.

Because faculty members don’t pay the fees that students do, they must buy a membership to the gym. Faculty members can get an annual membership for $275 and get a locker and a group fitness pass for an extra $100, the same price someone not affiliated with the university would pay.
Faculty use the gym most in the morning and at lunchtime, when there’s less student traffic, according to Zwaagstra.

“The ones [older patrons] that do come in, come in at the same time, the same day,” said Kelsea Noone, a senior studying molecular and cellular biology and psychology, who works at the front desk of the Rec Center. “They’re what I’d call our regulars, so we definitely do see the older patrons come in.”

While only a fraction of all faculty members come to the gym, Noone said staff try to accommodate all their patrons, not just students.

Zwaagstra said the Rec Center hopes to have the summary of the survey up on the center’s website by the end of the year.

From the survey results, the Rec Center will also be able determine if there is a need for another facility on the north side of campus.

“If a large part of the community really wants this, then hopefully we can successfully work with the university to … make something like that happen,” Zwaagstra said.

Faculty and staff members said the reason they don’t work out at the Rec Center is because they don’t have time.

“[The Rec Center is] not between here and home,” said Russel Potter, an advising specialist for the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Potter said he used to swim all the time at the Rec Center, but due to his schedule, he no longer has time .

Though few use the Rec Center for fitness, many faculty members get their workouts in other ways.
“During lunchtime, a colleague and I go over to McKale [Center] and we walk the perimeter,” said Mary Paul, the program coordinator for Arizona Public Media. “That’s our fitness thing.”

– Follow Maggie Driver @Maggie_Driver

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