Rec center good idea, unlikely to get by students

Katrina Mossberger

The University Student Union recently proposed a “comprehensive recreation center,” with cool things like a rock climbing wall, a boxing studio and baby-sitting services.

If I am interpreting the USU’s voter’s guide correctly, it sounds like the beginning of a new fitness center that could offer fitness classes for the unmotivated exercisers like myself, who would never go use the pre-existing Fitness Centre that CSUN currently offers. It’s not because the current gym is bad, it’s because I, like other people, can’t motivate myself to exercise alone. Now, a gym on campus that offered a yoga or boxing class, that is something I would use.

Unfortunately for me, the expected opening date is far away, projected to be in 2011 to 2012. So help me, if I haven’t graduated by then, taking advantage of a recreation center will be the last thing on my mind.

But assuming I will have been able to graduate, I won’t be around to enjoy the new facilities. To add insult to my injury, at least some funding from this project is going to come from raised student fees.

According to the voter’s guide, the USU fees will increase to $25 in the 2007-2008 school year, $35 in 2008-2009, $45 in 2009-2010, $55 in 2010-2011 and $130 in 2011-2012. I feel sorry for the students paying for the increases in 2011, $130 on top of the $120. That’s $250 in USU fees, in addition to our ever-increasing tuition.

To be fair though, $250 per year is still pretty cheap for a recreation center or a gym. When I worked at a gym, members would be lucky to get away with fees of just $1,000 per year.

However, a major hurdle I see this project facing is convincing students enrolled now to vote for fee increases for a facility the majority of them won’t be around to use. The voter’s guide did suggest that USU was considering offering discounted or free semester memberships for students who had graduated but had previously paid for the fee increases. I hope they do so. It seems only fair to be able to use a facility you had paid for while a student.

I do like the proposed idea of not charging a membership fee for students to use the Recreation Center. Students love anything that’s free and joining the ranks of other schools that offer their students a recreation center is a good move for the image of CSUN.

But like I said, I believe the USU and any other associations involved with the construction with the proposed student recreation center will have a hard time convincing the student population to vote in favor of fee increases. In November 2006, students struck down two proposed fee increases for A.S and Instructionally Related Activities. One of those referendums involved a one-time fee increase of $15. If students voted down a single $15 increase, what would make them vote in favor of a $25 increase that will eventually become $130?

I’m torn. While I think the recreation center is a great idea, I’m not exactly excited to vote for a fee increase. I guess it’s one of those cases of wanting your cake and eating it too. And the students who turn out to vote will have to decide if they’re willing to pay increased fees for the benefit of students later to come.