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Number of Morren Fitness Center visitors spikes

Photo courtesy calvin.edu.
Photo courtesy calvin.edu.

In the past year, the Morren Fitness Center has been the proud witness to a large spike in the number of yearly visits.

Students commonly venture into the fitness center, but behind the scenes, record numbers fly and continue to escalate.

The center is responsible for a spike of 2,000 visits as of this January 2013, compared to last January, which had a total of 1,500 visits.

According to records by Roy Zuidema, the director of campus wellness who is primarily response for the healthy habits programming, the total visits rose to a whopping 100,287 overall visits in 2012.

According to Zuidema, January and February are known to be the busiest months of the year.

Zuidema associates this with students returning from interim off campus, settling in to a new semester schedule or even Michigan’s bipolar weathers interfering with outdoor exercises.

Perhaps it could even simply be the New Year’s resolutions as students anticipate the “start of a new era,” where fitness and health become one of their goals.

“We are getting better at what we do,” encouraged Zuidema when asked about the possible reasons as to why there are more and more students visiting the fitness center each year.

Calvin’s kinesiology department has been working hard to promote health and fitness, and it has been proven productive as students teem in to enjoy the facilities provided by the center.

“The fitness center is usually full by dinner time,” said Paige Dam, a freshman at Calvin who frequently visits the center. Her motivation goes beyond personal health and fitness, but into the environment of the center as well.

“I hope that this is part of our culture, where wellness becomes the norm rather than the exception,” said Zuidema. He hopes that physical health has become an integral part of Calvin’s students, instead of just a pursued hobby.

Zuidema’s hopes appear to be becoming a reality, as students who frequently visit the gym have positive things to say.

For Dam, the fitness center is convenient and accessible. “I also enjoy working out with friends,” said Dam.

For others, the fitness center has become an established and known environment that welcomes and encourages fitness and health.

“It’s not intimidating to work in the fitness center,” said Krista Malbouef, another freshman at Calvin. For students like Malbouef, the fitness center has become an open place to practice health and fitness freely with a variety of opportunities due to the machines available.

“It’s fun to see professors there too and work out with your professors,” Malbouef continued. Both students and faculty are connected under the same hopes to develop fitness and health in the fitness center. This is a positive and a brilliant response to the dream of creating a campus with health and fitness as one of the priorities, according to Zuidema.

“I am coming up with new ways to get faculty, staff and spouses involved,” said Zuidema, who is often exploring new methods in his role.

His goal is coming to life as the fitness center witnesses the enjoyment of health and wellness from both faculty members and students.

Zuidema also explores the impact the fitness center’s boost in numbers and student involvement has on the donors who funded the fitness centers.

He is excited to see a continuous incline in the fitness center, and is glad to share with donors that fitness and health are becoming the norm among Calvin students.

“This is a piece,” concluded Zuidema, referring to the fitness center among all the other fitness, health and recreational opportunities, “but it is the [most attended].”

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