University undercuts center

The recreation department is considering cutting back programs because of the lack of funding that it received from the Activities & Services committee for the 2005-2006 school year.

Campus Recreation received $515,990 of the $1.2 million that it originally asked of the A&S committee. The funding was to go towards the operations of the new fitness center located on the corner of Wahnish Way and Osceola Street.

Eboni Ivory, junior senator and A&S liaison, said the committee did the best they could.

Ivory said the committee understood that the new fitness center had a large need, but said they also had more than 40 organizations that needed funding as well.

The Director of Campus Recreation Robert D. Carroll Jr., said that he is staying positive about getting money re-allocated either by SGA President Virgil Miller, or Interim President Castell V. Bryant. They have not, yet, OK’d the budget.

Ivory said that all of the A&S money has been budgeted for next school year.

“If money were re-allocated to the recreation department from the budget then another organization would lose money,” Ivory said.

Ivory said the recreation department shouldn’t have to cut programs because most of the money Carroll asked for was for OPS funds, which pays for staff.

Carroll said he requested $450,000 to hire adequate staff for the center that is scheduled to open in January.

Carroll said the $85,000 received for OPS funds makes it nearly impossible to run the center.

The main floor, which will house the exercise equipment, will be able to accommodate 300 people. Carroll said the industry standard is one instructor for 50 people working on the floor.

Carroll said that safety is first, and if the budget were not increased, it would then cause them to cut back on programs.

Although Carroll is not certain about what programs would be cut, he said the program that would not be touched would be flag football, which is the No.1 intramural sport.

Carroll said they want to offer an array of activities and sports to take care of students who have diverse activities, outside of the classroom.

Carroll said that the OPS funds would also allow him to have flexible hours of opening and closing, which would entice faculty and staff to gain memberships.

Gaining faculty and staff memberships is one of the ways the fitness center plans to raise funds. The recreation proposal submitted to the A&S committee stated plans to provide rock climbing, juice bar, massage therapy and other services for a cost.

“We are asking A&S for initial funding until we can create more money,” Carroll said.

Carroll said that in the real scope of things, “it’s not all about money it’s about health.”

An article titled “State of African-American Health,” stated that blacks lead the nation in heart disease, obesity, cancer, strokes, diabetes and kidney disease. Obesity leads to diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart disease and higher risk of cancer.

The special report stated, the death rate for Blacks is 30 percent higher than for Whites, which is largely because of the “unhealthy lifestyles of many Blacks.”

The article suggests that a possible solution is to increase activity.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans produced by the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture has recently increased the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day to one hour a day. This was in response to the survey which showed about 65 percent of Americans are overweight or obese.

Many schools have taken part of the trend to attract students to attend their college or university by providing incentives, such as dorms with suites and large computer labs.

“The new recreation center could be used as one of the University’s tools,” said William McCray, interim director of the office of recruitment.

“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” McCray said.

McCray added that the first class building with its amenities would be to impress visitors and could have a direct impact on a person’s choice for enrollment.

Carroll said that it is the University’s job to educate about health and said that health education is needed in the black community because there is a crisis with obesity.

“We need to get our students healthy and fit so that they can take their diplomas and use them for a long time and eventually give money back to the University,” Carroll said.

“People acquire wealth in their sixties and you can’t give back if you’re dead.”

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