What Students Really Want


Float down the lazy river in the University of Akron’s Student Recreation and Wellness Center, attend kayaking lessons with Vanderbilt University’s Outdoor Recreation department or feel like Mike Tyson at Rutgers University’s boxing studio in the College Ave Gymnasium. These schools all hold one thing in common: a state-of-the-art facility that has that incredible “WOW” factor to recruit, engage and retain students.

Now ask yourself, “What do students really want?” The life of a student is hectic to say the least, and for many fitness is the catharsis that keeps them sane – about 14 percent according to ADAA. It is for this reason students don’t want to stress about fitness. They want it to be accessible, convenient and conducive to their personal goals. Grandiose attractions like the ropes course offered by the University of South Florida is surely fantastic, but how many schools have the budget to rely on these methods to keep their students happy?

Speaking to directors has provided insight that most recreation departments often receive very little of the funding they request – as little as 10 to 20 percent. This means a lot of prioritizing on new equipment and often only minor improvements year after year. Many recreation departments are forced to stick to the basics; fortunately though, this may not necessarily be a problem. A survey showed the top five forms of preferred physical activity for individuals over the age of 15 are in fact all activities facilitated by nearly any recreation department. Check them out below (in order):

  1. Walking
  2. Weightlifting
  3. Cardiovascular Equipment
  4. Swimming and other water sports
  5. Running

Please understand: lazy rivers, kayaking lessons and boxing studios are all incredible methods to engage students. Heck, one would be lying if they said they wouldn’t use them if their undergraduate university had them! However, the reality remains that most recreation departments on college campuses DO NOT have access to these features than those that do. For those that do not, keep your chin up. Chances are you still have everything that you need to maintain a positive, healthy and fit community on your campus.


By fitDEGREE. For more information, visit fitdegree.com.

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