Spring is a time for new beginnings. A warm wind begins to breathe life into San Diego State, making its way through the grand arched walkways of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. With it comes new inspirations and opportunities for building healthier lifestyles.
Getting a head start on health is a goal often made by many in the new year, and was something taken into consideration when plans for the new student union were put into action. Several new exc=iting features have been included to encourage and enable students to lead a healthy lifestyle while managing a demanding schedule. The following is a highlight of two of the favorites so far.
Aztec Recreation Center Express
Perched atop the third floor of the student union and overlooking College Avenue is a new workout space for students. A smaller extension of the original Aztec Recreation Center, the ARC Express houses some of the best aspects of its predecessor in a compact space. The idea for the expansion began in 2005, after members expressed a desire for more fitness space. The Associated Students Aztec Recreation team complied, and after negotiating for space in the new student union, the ARC Express finally began to take shape.
“It will inspire by getting more students to work out,” ARC Marketing Coordinator Amy Schiller said. “A hearty percentage of students end up getting into it because of the (ARC) Express.”
Schiller said student enrollment at SDSU was always a factor in the development process. An increase in the student body typically meant an increase in members using the facilities, and extra space was needed to accommodate the steady rise of enrollment since the ARC opened in 1997. The 5,000-square-foot expansion has added 25 percent more resistance training and cardio space, Schiller said.
Providing more room to stretch wasn’t the only goal of the ARC Express—convenience had previously been another issue. Students living in the residence halls had a significant walk to get to the center, and it wasn’t always the safest option in the dark. Now they can hop, skip or jump to the third floor for a convenient workout between classes. Schiller hopes the ARC Express will allow more students the option to make time for a healthy workout.
“No one ever has a lot of time,” she said. “You always have to make it happen for yourself.”
One of the most highly anticipated renovations to the old Aztec Center is the new bowling alley, making its return to the SDSU campus following a three-year closure. The crash of wooden pins once again reverberates throughout the hall as students cheer on friends and classmates. Outfitted by Brunswick, Aztec Lanes is equipped with just about everything needed for a fun time.
“It’s good to see people getting out there and exercising and bowling and meeting people,” ARC Bowling Coordinator Jim Mitchell said. “It’s better than sitting on the couch playing video games.”
As a part of the bowling center since its inception in 1968, Mitchell designed the original space and worked long hours to ensure its replacement would be up to par for students. Aztec Lanes currently hosts 10 exercise and nutritional sciences bowling classes, and more than 500 students enroll each semester.
Mitchell said students are often surprised bowling counts as an elective for physical education, not realizing the health benefits it offers. Bowling is a great alternative to other sports, he said, and is ideal for those who don’t particularly like the atmosphere of a gym. He encouraged all students to come out and see the excitement for themselves.
“Everything that I’ve dreamed about has come true,” Mitchell said. “The students just flat out love it.”
The start of a bright and healthy future
Both the ARC Express and Aztec Lanes are open for business, but ideas for improvement haven’t stopped there. Schiller said she hopes to negotiate additional space for group classes at the student union, noting people are much more likely to start and stick to a workout plan when they have friends participating in the same activity. Mitchell’s sentiments echoed the benefits of such group “therapy,” and said it gives students a reason to stay on campus longer.
Though nothing has been promised yet, the student union has plenty of literal room for improvement. With the potential for further expansions combined with an already solid start, it’s no surprise SDSU continues to be a leader in health and well-being for its students. Whether they prefer to pick up a dumbbell or a bowling ball, students are sure to find something to fit their physical fitness needs.
Photo by Monica Linzmeier, photo editor
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