University continues improvement of athletic services

KLARC initiatives

Emily Welch

Contributing Writer

The push to improve the University Student Recreation Program did not stop after President John Bravman’s announcement about new late-night hours at the Kenneth Langone Athletic and Recreation Center (KLARC) in mid-November. There is no denying that the University has an impressively active student body, with 75 percent of incoming students having lettered in at least one varsity sport prior to arrival. This creates a high demand for extra recreational opportunities in the realm of club sports, intramural activities and fitness classes.

The recent addition of late-night classes such as Hour of Power Yoga, Booty Barre and Zumba intends to accommodate the needs of students who might have class or prior commitments during the day and during afternoon gym hours.

“I love the late night gym hours because it alleviates the pressure of choosing between going to the gym or doing homework,” Rob Cavanaugh ’16 said. “I can always get my work done before the gym closes because it stays open later.”

Many students, faculty members and representatives from the administration have been busy working to shepherd new KLARC initiatives and fitness opportunities aiming to foster a healthy lifestyle among the student community. This small core team meets as “focus” groups to discuss and review the success, progress and demands of the recreational programs in order to decide how to best allocate the University’s resources and funding to improve the wellness and lifestyle choices of the community.

This team is comprised of members chosen by John Hardt, director of Athletics and Recreation, because of their involvement in and perspective of recreational activities on campus. Michael Wald ’13 serves on the committee to give a student’s perspective and complements representatives from the administration such as Ed Loftus, director of Business Planning. Together they work with other committee members to complete a detailed review of current program offerings, available resources and communication methods to enhance student awareness of the opportunities available to them. Loftus deems the main purpose of these focus sessions as conducting a “holistic review of student needs.”

One of the challenges is deciding how to maximize finances and space. One of the issues brought up within the group has been the long wait for treadmills during rush hours at the KLARC. While it would be easy if the solution were to spend more money and buy additional treadmills or high-demand fitness equipment, the KLARC does not have limitless funding, space or power availability. Instead, Loftus suggests that a more creative approach might be needed such as determining which machines are underutilized and could be replaced with machines such as treadmills that seem to be the most popular pieces of equipment. Issues such as these circulate during meetings and are high on the docket to be addressed and solved after the committee finishes focus group meetings.

Another debated issue is the accessibility of trainers for athletes on club teams and programs. Not being able to make an appointment with any of the athletic trainers to get taped or have an injury checked out puts these athletes in a tough position, because as Loftus acknowledges, “there is no real access there but they get injured every bit as much as varsity athletes,” making this a prominent problem for students.

“It is understandable that in a training situation the varsity athletes should take precedence, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be any access for other athletes,” Kelsey Fletcher ’14, member of the Bucknell Dance Company said. “We all practice just as hard and should all have the ability to get medical attention for sports-related injuries without having to leave campus.”

Other students who sustain injuries don’t know where to turn to get the medical help they need.

“I would have loved to have seen the trainer, but I assumed I couldn’t so I didn’t try,” Running Club member Chris Dunne ’15 said.

Although this issue is slightly outside the scope of KLARC initiatives, there is a separate Health Care initiative that Loftus and Hardt are heading, directed entirely at creating a strategic plan for sports medicine and the allocation of health resources such as athletic trainers available to students.

So far, these focus group meetings and initiatives have been a significant success and have garnered notable praise from students; late night classes have become popular and are often bustling with participants. The committee plans to continue meetings through May, when review and considerations of recommendations will occur. It hopes to implement new changes by Fall Semester 2013 and throughout the 2013-2014 academic year.

Looking forward to the construction of new senior residential housing uphill and Academic West prompts the consideration of renovating pre-existing outdoor spaces and creating new venues. Spaces such as basketball and volleyball courts have already been revamped since the fall. Loftus added that the volleyball courts are currently blocked off by concrete in order to install lighting to enable and encourage future evening usage.

Students are encouraged to get involved with the decision making behind the new recreational initiatives by providing feedback and suggestions via the Our Bucknell suggestion box in myBucknell. Additionally, if you have detailed thoughts on the review or potential enhancements, please contact Loftus to engage the core team in discussion.

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