Facilitating Health

In the “What’s Your Problem?” response article in this issue, Grand Valley State University student Caitlin Shea noted that the lack of an exercise facility on the Pew Campus is a missed opportunity for the university to prepare their students for the future. Shea, who is majoring in finance, notes that students who live and attend classes downtown do not have access to a recreation center such as the one on the Allendale Campus.

While the YMCA is across the street from the DeVos Center, students may not be able to afford to pay for the membership fees. Even with the student discount, it costs $160 per semester to be a YMCA member. That can be several weeks worth of groceries for a college student.

There is also a fitness center in the Winter Hall on the Pew Campus, which is free for students who live in Winter Hall and Secchia Hall; however, it is only open to residents of those buildings, not all GVSU students.

The recreation center on the Allendale Campus is often crowded. If GVSU took this opportunity to expand the exercise options at the Pew Campus, it could free up more space in Allendale as well as offer students who live downtown a more convenient option for working out.

The Lanthorn encourages the university to consider building a full-size recreation center on the Pew Campus, or even provide some accommodation to students who spend a lot of time downtown. It is imperative that the university ensures that it is setting up its students to lead successful and full lives after graduation, and an important part of living a full life is living a healthy life.

According to the American College Health Association, the percent of overweight and obese American college students increased from 27.4 percent in 2006 to 29.2 percent in 2011.

Trust for America’s Health released a report in September 2012 that predicts 39 states could have obesity rates above 50 percent by 2030. That’s ridiculous.

GVSU has a chance to help. It’s already hard for students to eat healthy while at college due to busy schedules and lack of access to healthy food options on campus. Students should at least have easy access to a fitness center, especially during the winter months when it becomes too cold to exercise outside.