Exercise equipment is spread out for students to use at the Wildcat Center for Health Education and Wellness. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)
Exercise equipment is spread out for students to use at the Wildcat Center for Health Education and Wellness. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

The Campus Recreation Department and Wildcat Center for Health and Recreation offers resources to students, staff and faculty members and the general public, allowing for easy-to-access opportunities that promote active lifestyles.

While not all aspects of the Campus Recreation Department and the Wildcat Center are the same as they were pre-COVID-19, there’s still plenty to do to stay active, whether it’s going to the gym, going for a swim, renting outdoor equipment such as paddleboards or getting involved with outdoor group activities.

Daniel Turner, Associate Director of Outdoor Program, explained that, as far as the Outdoor Program is concerned, many people have wanted to get out of the house. The Campus Recreation Department has plenty of options to choose from for those who want to explore ways to be active during the pandemic.

“In general, at the Campus Recreation Department,” Turner said. “We want to make sure that when students come to Weber State that they still have opportunities available to them to engage and create those healthy, active lifestyles.”

The Outdoor Program has had an increase of those wanting to get involved. They have been doing “cleanups” and outdoor activities, in small groups of eight to 12 people. The Outdoor Program will host an Ogden River Cleanup on Sept. 20.

Because of health considerations, only a limited number of participants can show. All those who would like to join in on these “cleanups,” or other group activities, are asked to RSVP online at WSU’s Outdoor Program webpage.

“There are hundreds of miles of trails and rivers here in the Ogden area that need to be cleaned,” Turner added. “So we can definitely spread people out as far as necessary.”

Individuals will register, drive to meetup at a specific time and place, spread out and clean up different areas in Ogden, like the river, trails and WSU campus.

Ogden River off of Canyon Road in Ogden, Utah. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

Sarah MacKay, Marketing Coordinator for Campus Recreation, provided some insight as to both the Campus Recreation Department’s actions to provide safe ways for its patrons to stay active, as well as the community’s response to those measures.

“So far, it’s worked well, and people have seemed really comfortable being back in the space,” MacKay said. “We have had a lot of people at the gym, utilizing our rental program and adventure meet-ups.”

Since the announcement of the shutdown, the Campus Recreation Department has been working hard to find out-of-the-box ways to adapt to the current social climate. The department has submitted plan after plan to the COVID-19 taskforce to stay current with national health regulations. There are many branches to WSU’s Campus Recreation, and each has been proactively finding ways to make sure that they are following health regulations.

“We have always had very high standards for cleaning and maintaining equipment,” MacKay said. “However, we have brought that to new levels, cleaning constantly, whether it’s rental equipment or gym equipment.”

Not all of the workout equipment is open for use. Weight machines are all distanced according to national regulations. Some of the machines have been moved out onto the basketball court, which is still shut down.

One student, Vincent Romero, a junior and Criminal Justice major, was using the gym frequently before the shutdown. Romero maintained his workout schedule the best he could during quarantine. Yet, as soon as he heard that the gym was open again, requiring a mask unless working out away from others, he started frequenting the gym the first week of the semester.

“It’s pretty clear that people want to make sure that things stay disease free,” Romero said. “Because, I am assuming, that they are coming back and they want to use the machines, so they clean it for other people—you’re just as responsible as anyone else to make sure the machines stay clean for the next person who uses it.”

Elsa Hassett, Facility Supervisor at Wildcat Center, and a senior majoring in Communications, expressed how the community has responded to the reopening of the gym. Hassett believes it’s important to have the gym open right now. It brings people a certain joy. Patrons understand that it’s important to have a mask on while walking through the Stromberg building. Students are allowed to take their masks off when they are working out at a safe distance from others.

Swimmers can easily access the Swenson Pool. While they are still limiting the number of swimmers in the pool at one time, all that is required is a signup. This can be done easily by scanning a QR code with a phone.

“It’s super easy, all you have to do is hold your phone up to the QR code,” Hassett said. “And then it will take you directly to the sign-in page for the pool, the form is easy to fill out, it asks for your name, if you’re a student, your email, and you can sign in and reserve your time to swim.”

Social media is useful way to stay on top of information, such as hours of operation for the pool, equipment rentals, any upcoming meetups and group events.

“We are still open, our programs are up and running, and we are here for our students,” MacKay said. “If they have any ideas for more programs we can offer, we would love to hear from them.”

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