Students at the University of Connecticut pay $140 more annually for access to the Recreation Center than faculty and staff wishing to use it.
Recreation Center memberships for faculty and staff are $360 annually, which is deducted from enrolled staff’s paychecks, according to the UConn Recreation Center website. Students pay a mandatory $500 added to their fee bills annually.
“[Fees] are based on the public memberships being restricted in scope, and the students having full access to the wide range of additional programs, services and events,” UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said.
Faculty and staff memberships at the new facility will help pay UConn Recreation’s operating expenses to keep costs down for students.
“Money collected from the student fee goes directly back to repaying the bonds issued to pay for the new facility and to the fund used to maintain it,” Reitz said.
UConn has offered faculty memberships for a number of years at the old recreation facility, Reitz said, which produced no effect on student access. Typically, faculty don’t use facilities past 2 p.m., whereas the peak time for students is from 3 to 10 p.m.
“The recreation staff also did extensive research to compare against other institutions’ practices and experiences, and it consistently revealed that including non-students in collegiate recreation facilities doesn’t impact student access,” Reitz said.
Reitz said the fee paid by Storrs-based UConn students is all-encompassing.
“It provides unlimited access along with groups exercises; fitness and wellness services; health and well-being programs; group meeting spaces; towel service and other amenities offered at the facility,” Reitz said.
The student fee also offers students full access to participate in club and intramural sports, outdoor adventure programs, special events such as Oozeball and bubble soccer tournaments and other UConn Rec programming that faculty do not have access to, Reitz said.
“The membership fees for faculty, staff, people associated with the University (such as alumni), and community members are based on having access only to the Rec Center building and equipment, like a gym membership,” Reitz said.
Naiela Suleiman is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.