Student Senate supports downtown exercise facilities

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Student Senate President Andrew Plague

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Student Senate President Andrew Plague

Alex Sinn

The Grand Valley State University Student Senate convened for general assembly Thursday, Feb. 19. The senate passed a resolution to encourage the expansion and improvement of fitness opportunities at the GVSU downtown campus.

“I think it would be only fair,” said Jewel Haji, the senator who proposed the resolution.

Currently, GVSU students who attend classes downtown do not have a place to work out other than the recreation center on the Allendale Campus. GVSU students can receive a discount at the Grand Rapids YMCA, but they are still required to pay for a membership.

In a recent video, two GVSU deans whose colleges are based on the Pew Campus downtown made the case for this expansion.

“If you are an Allendale student, part of your tuition goes toward access to the Recreation Center,” said Cynthia McCurren dean of the Kirkhof College of Nursing. “It’s much harder for downtown students to take advantage of those facilities.”

Students in the nursing program and other lab-intensive programs face a lot of stress, she said, and an antidote to that is exercise.

“It seems like the right thing to do,” McCurren said.

Part of the university’s commitment to students is to promote their overall well-being, she added.

Dean of Seymour & Padnos College of Engineering Paul Plotkowski said nursing and engineering students spend an “unusual” amount of time on campus downtown.

“The availability of fitness opportunities here, I think, is central to accommodate that kind of academic schedule,” Plotkowski said.

The resolution encourages the university to seek new opportunities for students to have that access downtown, and the support of the deans helps move things along, Haji said.

“The things they spoke about really solidify my reasoning behind my resolution,” she said.

The resolution aims to support the availability of new exercise space, but does not imply the construction of any new facilities.