Anyone who has walked around Mackey, Sewell or Norlin over the past year has surely seen the massive construction site that consumed our old student recreation facilities. After a successful student body vote, the project was undertaken with high hopes for the innovative, challenging and inviting Rec Center befitting our CU student body.
This past Friday, the new expansion to the CU Recreation Center officially opened for use, which now includes a three-court gym, expanded cardio equipment and space, an enhanced weight room and brand new studios. At the beginning of this week the new climbing wall also opened, which is widely regarded as one of the most impressive climbing walls in any university in the country. By the end of March, the entire facility will be fully operational, including the old wood-court gym and track (which are currently closed for further renovations), and that old multi-purpose gym will be transformed into an indoor turf gym by spring break.
The benefits of student recreation centers on students' retention and academic success are well documented. We are more likely to persevere in the face of challenge when we are consistently engaging in physical activity. Those who have greater access to recreation services are more likely to have higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate. It was unfortunate, then, that the before this recent renovation, the recreation center was significantly undersized for our student body. This meant that many students were unable to take advantage of its services and did not receive the many benefits of informal and structured recreation.
I am excited to say that this is changing as we open the newly constructed and renovated space for students to use.
I encourage every student to take some time as the semester begins to visit the new recreation center and see what it has to offer. Next week, from Jan. 21-24, the rec center is hosting a Reconnect with the REC event featuring free classes, personal training and competitions. This is the perfect time for students to explore the new recreation center and figure out the best ways to use the facility. This is an opportunity to build a habit of consistent physical activity. That consistent activity will leave you feeling less stressed and more successful in your academics and other pursuits — science says so!
Chris Schaefbauer is CUSG's President of Student Affairs.