Students deserve full access to ARC
Full-time undergraduate students at Baruch College pay $265.50 per semester in activity fees as part of their tuition. These fees, according to the CUNY board of trustees, are used to fund the student health centers, athletics and recreation facilities and advisement offices on campus. All of these services help enhance the college experience at Baruch. Although the money goes to student services, these services are not always available for students to use.
Baruch’s gymnasium facility, which is made up of two parts, features three full basketball courts in its main gym and one in its auxiliary gym. Students who are looking to practice their jump shot or play a quick game of basketball in between classes can just walk two floors down to the basement and join a pick-up game or find an open court in which to shoot around.
Located on the lower three levels of the Newman Vertical Campus, Baruch’s Athletics and Recreation Complex plays host to many formalized sports programs and community recreational activities. Private organizations, public institutions and non-profit organizations can rent out any of the six ARC facilities at an hourly rate throughout the week, including weekends. NBA teams that are scheduled to play at Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center are sometimes sighted at the main gym holding practices the day before the official match.
Due to the occupancy of the gyms, students sometimes change in the locker room and head downstairs only to find a sign on the door saying that the gym is closed. Although students can join a mailing list to check for the gym’s open hours, these schedules, along with the ones posted in front of the facilities, are hard to rely on, as they are often subject to last-minute changes. Students must also clear the gym when Baruch’s sports teams need to practice for any upcoming matches, meets or competitions. On other days, the gym is used as a venue for club activities such and events. As a result, many games are stopped short and students are left in dismay.
Moreover, many students who have utilized Baruch’s athletics facilities quickly come to the realization that the fitness center can be one of the most overcrowded areas on campus. It is easy to find students who are dissatisfied with the lack of equipment and overall size of the center. During club hours, it is nearly impossible to find an open machine to complete a workout.
With the student population at Baruch growing each year, the available space in these facilities continues to decrease. This is a dire issue that requires attention.
An obvious remedy for the basketball gym would be to open a new facility for student-athletes, professional sports teams and community organizations. This will enable students who are not on an athletics team to use the current space more freely and comfortably. Baruch’s sports teams would also benefit from the changes, with more space to practice and work on their skills. The new facility could also incorporate state-of-the-art equipment and technology.
One solution for the overcrowding issue at Baruch’s fitness center would be to create partnerships with local gyms such as Blink and the New York Sports Club. These gyms are located within walking distance from the campus and could make a profit from students who are serious about staying fit on a daily basis. Baruch already works with several small businesses in the Flatiron District to offer discounts for its students in places such as restaurants and cafes. This can easily be expanded to local gyms in order to offer similar savings to students.
On-campus recreation centers and programs are vital to a student’s learning and overall college experience. These facilities provide students with a place to meet other students on campus and learn new skills outside of the classroom. It is critical for the ARC facilities to be upgraded in order to satisfy the wide-ranging fitness goals of the diverse population at Baruch.