New aerobics-style classes are designed to ease congestion in the weight room
News | Greta Sowles
Students feel the burn as they work out in an aerobics-style class in the RC gym. | Photo for The Clarion by Erin Gallagher
More than almost anything else, there is a collective frustration about the weight room at Bethel. Not only is the facility too small to accommodate a growing desire to remain fit, but the weight room is also clogged with varsity athletes, whose training programs require specialized attention.
Often, the weight room is either reserved for, or heavily populated by, varsity athletes from 3-7 p.m., making it difficult for students not involved in organized sports to find time or space to workout.
Fortunately, funding is available for the new fitness facility, which will begin construction this spring. In the meantime, Bethel’s Student Senate has responded to the frustration by passing a bill to get different aerobics-style classes at Bethel. In two days, the Student Senate gathered over 150 signatures of people who showed interest in the classes.
Four different classes – Zumba, cardio kickboxing, yoga and high-low aerobics – will be offered, beginning within the next four weeks. These classes will be free, offered to both males and females and taught by certified instructors. All of the instructors have ties to Bethel and will teach the classes in a Christian manner.
The bill was first proposed by Senate members Jacky Arness and Preston Laroche in October and was passed unanimously in a Senate meeting on Dec. 3, 2012.
Laroche, who is the senior class president, said, “We wanted to do it because a lot of other schools offer this kind of stuff. It keeps Bethel competitive, and it would also help with prospects.”
The classes will take place Monday through Thursday in the racquetball courts at a time when the weight room is busiest, most often from 4-6 p.m. Because Student Senate expects high participation, the classes will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees will be required to bring a yoga mat or towel.
Previously, Bethel had a partnership with LA Fitness to compensate for the overcrowded weight room. Approximately 200 students had memberships at LA Fitness, which cost $30 per month. Most of the students kept the membership for the entirety of the year. Bethel is not continuing this partnership, and the new classes are free, saving the student body around $72,000.
“This is a way we can help students access a variety of fitness opportunities without ever having to leave campus or pay an additional gym fee,” sophomore Senator Arness said.
Student Senate expects there to be a high turnout based on the overwhelming show of interest in the classes. “If we have to turn people away that would be a good thing,” Laroche said. “That would show administration that we need our own time and a bigger space to improve the health, well-being and fellowship of the students.”
Laroche mentioned that student body president Austin Laroche did a great job with administration. “Once it got into the small details it was easier for him to talk to administration because he is a bigger figure,” he said.
The instructors will be paid around $30 per class, which is a little more than they would be paid at a fitness center. This gives Bethel a better chance to find a quality instructor and gives the instructor incentive to come and teach. The instructors will be paid using the activity fee that every student is already required to pay.
Student Senate would like the classes to continue after the new fitness facility is built. For now, the aim of the classes is to free up gym congestion and relieve students’ frustrations.