All too often students are encouraged to be active in order to further our lives and improve our physical and mental health. Unfortunately, due to time constraint or financial issues, this can be difficult to achieve which is exactly why it is important to have a gym on campus that is accessible to all students, all times of the day.
The current membership to Sport and Wellbeing (S&W) is £165, which for some is dear enough already. However, the new membership – which will allow you access to the gym during ‘peak times’ (16:00-20:00) during term time – is now £230. There are many reasons why this change is not idea, firstly, it doesn’t take it account that many people use the gym after a day of lectures or after office hours. Of course, yes, that means that the gym becomes fuller and therefore is ‘peak time’, but those who have no choice but to go during those hours should not be forced to pay extra in order to continue bettering themselves. So why are the University changing the membership to alienate students from doing this?
Not only does it hinder individuals, but also causes issues for many sports societies, which require an S&W membership to use the facilities at these peak times. This would mean that freshers would have to face an extra payment anyway just to partake in these sports societies. This could result in one of two things: we have a sudden decline in membership to sports societies, or we begin to experience a two-class student environment: those who can afford membership to sport societies that use S&W facilities, and those who cannot. This is incredibly problematic and is definitely a step back in encouraging healthy living and, in the long term, class equality.
Currently, all the fitness classes run at peak times. Whilst this seems a deliberate move, I sincerely hope this is just poor planning and judgement. The introduction of a new charge is, at best, confusing –at worst, it is discriminatory and will make it very difficult to entice freshers into living a healthier lifestyle.