For Ohio State’s Office of Recreational Sports, January is known as the busiest month of the year.
New Year resolutions and a renewed commitment to get fit bring in crowds when students return to campus for classes after winter break. This year drew record-breaking numbers of gym-goers, but students returned in January to find more than $80,000 in upgrades and new equipment along with the influx of people.
OSU’s recreational facilities broke their all-time attendance record Jan. 8, said senior associate director of Recreational Sports administration and programs Marci Shumaker.
“We had 12,726 visitors across all the indoor rec facilities (on Jan. 8),” Shumaker said.
She said that number beat the previous record by about 400 people.
Although there is not much data on attendance available yet because campus was shut down for the first two days of the semester because of extreme weather conditions, Shumaker is optimistic about the month ahead.
“January is consistently the busiest month,” Shumaker said. “If history is to be believed, we’re going to be probably as busy as we typically are in January, if not busier.”
Melanie Rose, a second-year in sport industry, works as a member services assistant at the RPAC swiping people’s BuckIDs when they enter the facility.
“You begin to notice regular RPAC users in the shifts that you work, and I can definitely say that I’ve seen a lot of new faces and new groups of people coming in,” Rose said.
She said she has also encountered the crowds while personally working out, but they don’t bother her.
“Dealing with the crowds is bearable and not as bad as some people think it is. I applaud and have respect for the people that want to start fresh in the new year, and what better way to do that than with exercising and being active?” Rose said.
Other students, though, such as Sam Tovissi, a second-year in business, said they haven’t had the same patience when it came to dealing with the crowds.
“I did go (Jan. 8). It was ridiculous. I ended up just leaving,” Tovissi said.
He said Jan. 8 wasn’t the first day he noticed there were more people at the gym either.
“I have noticed a lot of people at the RPAC every day since being back from break. Compared to the end of last semester, there is a clear rise in attendance,” Tovissi said. “I have started working out at JO South to beat some of the crowds. It is sometimes much less crowded there than the RPAC.”
Along with heightened attendance at the recreation facilities on campus, improvements and new class offerings are in place for the new year.
New fitness equipment was installed over break, as well as new wood courts at the Adventure Recreation Center and a glass wall at Jesse Owens South, Shumaker said.
The wood courts, which say “The Ohio State University” on them, cost $42,770. That cost also included some board repairs, Katie Thomas, interactive marketing coordinator for Recreational Sports, said in an email. She attributed the information to Dave DeAngelo, senior associate director of facilities for Recreational Sports.
The eight-foot glass wall provides a view of the street and allows for more natural light, and cost about $38,000, DeAngelo said.
New classes include different cycling classes, classes incorporating hip hop dance moves and kickboxing-based classes, Thomas said.
One of the new classes, Barre None, has become increasingly popular in Columbus and is a combination of “ballet, palliates, and yoga,” Thomas said.
While doing Boxing Body Sculpt, which is another new class taught in a circuit style that emphasizes kickboxing skills, students “can really punch out (their) aggression towards (their) school work and relieve stress,” Thomas said.
All fitness classes are free for students who have a rec membership. A recreational fee of $123 is charged to every student taking at least four credit hours at the Columbus campus.
This charge “provides support for all campus recreational sports facilities, programs and services,” according to the university registrar website. “Students who are assessed the fee are automatic members of the recreational sports facilities and eligible for all member benefits.”
Rose said the classes are a good way to take advantage of the gym membership.
“The classes really give students the opportunity to easily get a work out in while still having fun with friends,” Rose said.
Students who wanted to enroll in a quarter-long class used to have to pay $50 to attend, however, starting in Spring Quarter 2012 the classes were free of charge.
“Ever since Rec Sports made them free to students, the numbers have increased substantially. It’s an amazing thing, and I love that students, both girls and guys, can use those as a tool to get motivated and be fit,” Rose said.