Improving Dankook’s Fitness Centers

기사승인 [402호] 2023.05.09  


   Dankook University (DKU) currently has several fitness centers across its Jukjeon and Cheonan campuses. On the Jukjeon campus, the fitness centers are in two buildings, Woongbi Hall and Jinri Hall. On the other hand, the Cheonan campus has three gyms, and they are situated in the Industry-Academic Cooperation Group building, Danwoo Hall, and Bongsa Hall. Only dormitory students are allowed to use the facilities except for the one in the Industry-Academic Cooperation Group. This facility is open to all students. While there seem to be enough locations, Dankookians (Students of DKU) are not satisfied with the current facilities. They cite overcrowding and aging and lacking equipment as their primary concerns. Non-dormitory Dankookians also hope to have access to a gym. They think our facilities are inadequate compared to other universities nearby. The Dankook Herald (DKH) investigated their concerns.

▲ Restricted Access in Bongsa Hall Fitness Center (Photo from the Dankook Herald)

   Dankookians living off-campus are unable to use the fitness centers located on campus. As a result, they have to rely on costly, privately owned gyms. This has led to dissatisfaction among students who feel that the school needs to provide fitness centers for all Dankookians, regardless of whether they live in dormitories or not. Comparing DKU with other universities in the same area, such as Kangnam University (KNU) and Yongin University (YIU), they both have fitness centers that are accessible to all students. At KNU, students can use the fitness center by paying a nominal monthly fee of 10,000 won. On the other hand, at YIU, students can use the fitness center for free. In the cases of Baekseok University and Yonam University, which are located in Cheonan, they also have fitness centers on campus, and students who do not live in a dormitory can use them through a membership system. Maeng Seung-hwan (a freshman in the Dept. of French Studies), who doesn’t live in a dormitory, thinks a fitness center accessible to all Dankookians would have several benefits. It would provide ease of accessibility to exercise. Many students are unable to work out because there are no nearby gyms. This was the problem he faced. He argued that physical fitness facilities on campus would enhance student quality of life and make getting to the gym easier. Going to exercise can take up a significant amount of time, but it can also help students strike a balance between academic pursuits and a need for physical activity. Maeng also argues that a school fitness center would reduce the financial burden on students as they won’t have to pay for expensive external gyms. As a student, gym memberships are mostly cost-prohibitive. A campus fitness center could provide students with an affordable option for training.

   But a need for an open-access gym isn’t the only fitness center problem Dankookians are complaining about. According to reports from students living in the dormitory, overcrowding and aging equipment at their gyms are inconveniencing users. In an interview with a student (Dept. of Computer Engineering) living in Woongbi Hall who uses the fitness center almost every day except for during exam periods, we learned of great dissatisfaction with almost all the exercise equipment, particularly a lack of barbells. He added that he would be willing to use a better-equipped fitness center closer to the school if one became available. The placement and division of the equipment between the two dormitories are also unclear, and there is an overall shortage of equipment, with limited weight options for dumbbells or barbell plates. As a result, users must always wait for their turn to come, and the weight options are too restricted for adequate exercise. Overall the gyms are out of date, causing students to prefer off-campus fitness facilities, even if they are inconvenienced by the travel. To address these issues, he suggests multiple racks of weights and benches be available in each area to accommodate a larger number of users. He also said the fitness center could be divided into cardio and strength zones. The cardio zone could consist of treadmills, cycles, and stretching areas, while the strength zone could include dumbbells, barbells, and weight machines. To further enhance sports facilities, the fitness center could be expanded for other sports too, such as table tennis. This would provide an opportunity for students to enjoy a variety of activities and improve their overall experience at the fitness center. Addressing the issues with the current fitness facilities and equipment is necessary to ensure a positive user experience. Ultimately, it is important to find solutions that improve the equipment available, and the atmosphere, and offer a variety of sporting experiences.

▲ Photo of Woongbi Hall Fitness Center (Photo from the Dankook Herald)

   The DKH conducted a survey to gain a more diversified perspective on the status quo of the on-campus fitness centers. The survey was conducted with Dankookians living in on and off-campus housing as well as with the dormitory administration teams at both university locations. In total, 91 students participated with 53 Dankookians from the dormitories of both campuses and 38 non-dormitory Dankookians. Dankookians living on campus were asked about their reasons for using the fitness center, as well as to describe any inconveniences and improvements that are necessary. According to the survey, 51 on-campus students reported experiencing inconveniences using the fitness center. The lack of exercise equipment was the top reason and aging equipment and overcrowding were also a part of the inconvenience. On the other hand, non-dormitory students were primarily asked about their reasons for using fitness centers outside of school. The primary reason for using off-campus fitness centers was the unavailability of on-campus fitness facilities. Moreover, both groups were asked for their opinions on whether non-dormitory Dankookians should be permitted to utilize the on-campus fitness center as well as the creation of a division between aerobic and anaerobic training spaces within each dormitory. Both Jukjeon and Cheonan campus students expressed a desire for additional equipment, such as a lat pulldown machine, squat rack, barbell, and various dumbbell weights. And when it came to dividing the aerobic and anaerobic exercise areas, 73 Dankookians in the dormitory were in favor of it, while 18 were against it. In addition, there were also 53 respondents in favor of opening the facility to non-dormitory Dankookians, with 38 against it. The dormitory administration acknowledged that the fitness center for Dankookians may be limited and insufficient for non-dormitory students, making it difficult to open up access to them too. While there are no plans to add more equipment, the administration explained that there are already enough machines based on a discussion with students in 2019. However, the issue will be addressed immediately if Dankookians report any inconvenience or issues with the equipment through the dormitory homepage. Moreover, the dormitory administration stated that they would consider implementing the separation of the aerobic and anaerobic exercise areas if there is a clear and reasonable desire for it from Dankookians. 

   It is clear there was a diverse collection of responses to our queries about existing fitness centers. Dormitory students reported that the exercise equipment, such as barbells, left something to be desired. Off-campus students thought fitness centers on campus should be open to all Dankookians. But this will only exacerbate an already existing problem of overcrowding. The school needs to find ways to address the needs of all Dankookians. Hopefully, they will endeavor to respond soon.

황인경, 김주연, 김은재, 김재훈, 박상우

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