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April 19, 2017

“Golden tickets” not such a golden way to handle group exercise at rec center sign-ups

After a long day of classes one can imagine the last thing students would want to do is spend another hour fighting for leg room in a classroom that’s way too hot and filled with sweat-soaked bodies.


But everyone seems to be doing just that at the University of Masschusetts’ recreation center.


The group activities at the recreation center are a hit if you haven’t heard already.


The only problem is that university officials in charge of the functioning of the recreation center do not know how to respond to its group activities’ surprising popularity.


Their idea of a response to an overload of interested participants is to send the avid gym-goers on a wild goose chase around the gymnasium to receive one of the ‘golden tickets’ into class.


Apparently, according to an e-mail sent last week from UMass administrators in charge of the recreation center, this method of having students find tickets to group activities is the only way to efficiently monitor how many people are allowed in a class and give a fair chance to the undergraduates on campus.


Well they are wrong – there are so many alternatives, and they have chosen the most outrageous option available.

People are attending Cardio Kick Boxing, Zumba and Pilates because they are interested in working out without spending an hour on a treadmill like a hamster in a cage.

The classes give students a chance to do something active besides the routine workout including cardio machines and weights which often leave students feeling like robots.

The best part about it is that these group activities are a fun way to improve your strength and overall flexibility. They might just maybe even shed a few of those extra pounds you picked up from all the chips and beer you consumed at the Super Bowl party.

When obesity is one of the biggest concerns of society and the rates of obesity are the highest they have been in years, the recreation center obviously needs a new approach to allow students to enjoy these group activities. The worst thing that can be done to these students is to deny them from a class they would enjoy.

The ‘golden tickets’ being given out are discouraging students from participating in the future due to the fact that most classes are already overloaded to the point that students have to shuffle around cautiously to get an effective workout. Luckily for them, I have a solution such as creating more class times. Whoa! What a concept.

Here’s the plan. There are four classrooms in the recreation center so why not use them all day? Right now, classes are sporadically in a random room. How about simultaneously fill the classes by placing Zumba in one, Yoga in another, Cardio Kick Boxing in a third and might as well throw in some ABS-olute training in the final room.

Then, run the rotation of classes all day. Have a class in every room at all times. Not only does this work for people that have class until seven and cannot make it to the fight for the ‘golden ticket’ but it might lessen the crowds of people running to the gym at night.

This would allow everyone a fair opportunity to get involved in something that may have been missing out on.

Wait there’s more! An even better idea is put some of these classes in those ancient buildings no one has visited since the opening of the recreation center. Anybody remember Totman, Boyden and what about Curry Hicks? What could possibly be going on in those fitness centers but just open space waiting for people to fill it?

People can only play so much basketball, and honestly, who has more right to the space –basketball team of eight or a group of 30, anxiously waiting to participate in an hour long full-body workout?

Understand there is no fancy lighting, overhead music or a view of the valley, but Totman or Boyden can easily get the job of hosting group activities done.

One last idea is that there should be sign ups online. Not only is this easier for students, but the university would be able to view patterns in who is enrolling and possibly even survey to match time slots. They would have a constant monitor and maybe from that go as far to create a gym class for credit.

Students who choose to be active in this arctic weather should not be denied exercise opportunities because of space constraints, there are tons of open areas on campus.

Students who want to receive a full body workout through one of these group activities should be able to do so. Sometimes these classes are the only things that get people moving, and there should not be any excuses as to why they cannot participate for the lack of space.

There is a better way to respond to the popularity of the group exercise; they just need to work on it. As for now we can excuse the university, but sooner or later someone will have to take a different course of action.

Amanda Joinson is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at

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