Changes needed to make UREC more effective for students

Whitworth University opened the long-awaited  Rec Center earlier this school year with much excitement and anticipation. The UREC has been a big hit, with its full-size climbing wall and plethora of basketball courts, in addition to a high-quality weight room. However, nothing is perfect. Junior Kyle McEachran stays active and spends a lot of hours at the UREC. Over time, he has noticed a few items that would improve the experience at the facility. In response, he has created a proposal that includes an ice cooler for treating injuries, guest passes for family and friends of students, staff and faculty and the allowance of “shirts and skins” games on the basketball courts. As of press time on Sunday, May 4, McEachran gathered more than 300 student and staff signatures on the petition, including that of President Beck Taylor.

These changes would not only be convenient for those who use the UREC, but are necessary for both student health and the popularity of the UREC.

As far as the “shirts and skins” issue goes, there a couple of points to be made. First, when playing a game of 5-on-5 pick up basketball, “shirts and skins” is a common way to distinguish who is on which team. In addition to that, for some males it is more comfortable to play sports indoors with shirts off. That may not seem like a valid reason, but in reality, students at Whitworth are adults and deserve freedom. If someone can look outside the coffee shop windows and see four guys outside with their shirts off, why can’t the same be said in the UREC?

It is understandable that some aren’t comfortable with shirtless people in the UREC. In order to avoid offending anyone, McEachran has suggested that athletes with their shirts off on the basketball courts must stay there. If basketball players want to walk around to other parts of the UREC, they must have their shirts on. That would be the best compromise between the current dress code and the allowance of “shirts and skins” on the courts.

Regarding ice in the UREC, it seems to be self-explanatory. It is actually quite surprising that the UREC doesn’t have some kind of medical or health center. In a building with a climbing wall, three full basketball courts and a full weight room, somebody is bound to get hurt, right? Absolutely. Admittedly, there have already been budget cuts to the Health Center, but a small ice cooler would not break the bank, and is necessary.

In an email conversation, McEachran noted his friend, who tore his ACL while in the UREC. He had no ice available to him without walking on a torn ACL.

McEachran has brought the proposal to the attention of Taylor. Whitworth’s president has witnessed the issue himself, as he was part of the intramural game in which that student tore his ACL.

“Taylor turned to me looking for ice… and I had to be the bearer of bad news and say, ‘There is no ice here,’” McEachran said. “President Beck Taylor said that he is looking at the possibility of providing some form of ice after he nearly broke his wrist.”

In addition to “shirts and skins” and an ice cooler, a limited number of guest passes for family and friends would be a strong addition to the UREC. As of right now, the UREC admits only undergraduate students, faculty and staff. For students with friends or family visiting, many may want to take them to our beautiful new fitness center. Our students’ guests should be able to experience the school that is a part of their friend or family member’s everyday life.

McEachran said he feels passionate about these potential changes, and for good reason. These changes are not only desirable but also essential, especially the addition of an ice cooler. As with most new things, there is a learning curve, and that is certainly the case for the UREC. Being a new facility, there will surely be many changes and additions to the UREC next year as Whitworth adjusts to what they have learned this school year. Hopefully, the items in McEachran’s proposal will be first in line.

Max Carter

Columnist

Contact Max Carter at mcarter16@my.whitworth.edu

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