As a general rule, I love the Sallie Tiernan Field House, and I spend a great deal of my time at the multimillion dollar facility. I love getting my heart pumping and muscles burning while watching The Price is Right on those nifty individual televisions attached to every cardio machine. I love sweating through ab workouts with friends on the stretching porch —as much as one can love self-induced pain, I suppose. As a first-year, I've never known Scripps sans field house, but have a difficult time imagining staying in shape without it. That being said, however, I do have a few complaints—complaints that I believe are shared by much of the student body— about this seemingly perfect, state-of-the-art facility.
For one thing, the field house has cut back on its hours for the spring semester. On the weekends, the gym doesn't open until noon; while this is by no means the end of the world, it's certainly frustrating for early-risers who like to get in a workout before brunch. The gym also now closes at 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and at 7 p.m. on Fridays. According to Farron Fowler, the fitness room coordinator, the new hours reflect the biggest participation by the gym's users. Instead of having its doors open throughout the day for students who might like to exercise at various times, the managers of the gym have decided that students can only exercise when the majority of other students will be exercising. Not only does this make it difficult to find a time to exercise for many students, but it also means that when students do use the field house, chances are pretty good that it's going to be crowded. Waiting to use an elliptical machine for 20 minutes is hardly anyone's definition of an effective workout.
Now that second semester has rolled around, the field house is open for the majority of its hours to students from Mudd and CMC, in addition to Scripps. Pomona and Pitzer students must pay a five dollar fee to use the field house, unless they are a guest of a Scripps student. I don't object to sharing the field house with students from around the 5C's and certainly understand that they have just as much right to use the field house as Scripps students do. However, there aren't a lot of cardio machines to begin with—personally, I don't think the field house uses its 24,000 square feet of space as well as it could, with so few machines and what seems like more of an emphasis on form than functionality—and the increased usage has put a huge burden on the machines that are there.
The field house has a sign-up sheet for using the cardio machines, in which students theoretically pencil in their names for the machine they want to use during a certain time slot. However, I've found that there are generally two groups of people when it comes to these sign-up sheets: those who have never even realized that yes, you are supposed to sign up to use a machine, and those who adhere to signing in as if it were some sort of fanatical religion. The two categories of cardio-users then come into conflict when both want to use the same machine, especially when someone who has not signed up for a specific piece of equipment is kicked off because, unbeknownst to them, it's someone else's "turn".
Don't get me wrong. For the most part, I love our field house, and I use it at every opportunity. However, I feel that some of its policies are not truly in the interests of the Scripps student body—something that needs to be addressed if we want to create an atmosphere on campus conducive to health and wellness.