Getting students to participate in fitness classes, such as Group X or personal training, can be difficult, especially when they’re in the thick of a busy school schedule. The University of Idaho has come up with a new program to drive participation in fitness classes.
“Our biggest and most successful program is what we call Personal Fitness,” said Peggy Hamlett, the fitness and wellness director at the University of Idaho. “We’re working with our department of movement sciences so students can take any of our classes at the rec center for credit.”
According to Hamlett, students taking fitness classes for school credits in the Personal Fitness program are required to complete 18 classes over the course of eight weeks.
The campus rec department offers up to 115 fitness classes per week for students to attend. Participants in Personal Fitness don’t have to attend just one class: They can pick the ones that interest them the most and attend them whenever they have time.
“Students go to any of 18 classes, as a minimum,” said Hamlett. “I came up with Personal Fitness for busy students who couldn’t take traditional fitness classes.”
In addition to expanding the college’s offerings for students, the Personal Fitness program has been critical for driving participation in all fitness classes at Idaho. According to Hamlett, it’s brought on average an additional 300 students per semester through the doors of the rec center.
That brings the rec center’s total daily attendance to around 2,000 students per day, a sixth of the 12,000 students on campus.
Plus, Personal Fitness gets students branching out into things they never would have tried before. “Sometimes, they’re afraid of doing things that are out of their comfort zone, but they’ll go in a TRX, gravity or Yoga class, and they realize it’s good for them and it’s something different,” said Hamlett. “Once they go through that class, it opens their eyes to other forms of exercise besides their traditional classes.”
Engaging students is a primary goal of every campus rec department. At the University of Idaho, the Personal Fitness program has elevated the level of engagement on campus. And ofte, it’s just a doorway into greater use of the rec center. “When we get students taking classes for the first time in Personal Fitness, they come back for other classes,” said Hamlett.