Wein: Pathetic work-out facilities on Villanova’s campus

Anne Boyd

The “Powerhouse,” located in the back of the Pavilion is a state-of-the-art, well-equipped fitness center that is home to a wide variety of strength and cardiovascular training equipment. Too bad it’s only for varsity athletes. According to the Villanova University website, the University manages two fitness centers for the rest of the students; one is in the basement of Stanford Hall on South Campus and the other is in Farley Hall on West Campus.

It is perfectly understandable that the varsity teams on campus have a separate work-out center; however, to be frank, the facilities offered to the rest of the student body are somewhat pathetic. The gym in the basement of Stanford has a few scattered stationary bikes, treadmills, and a few other random machines and a limited variety of lifting equipment.

On West Campus, Farley Hall offers nautilus machines, free weights and cardiovascular or aerobic machines. St. Mary’s has a lap pool and a gym. There are outdoor tennis courts and basketball courts as well as a gym in Alumni. This may not seem too bad, but machines are often broken and the gyms are often overcrowded. Just last week I was in the Stanford gym to lift weights and the pins to half of the weight machines were missing. Overall, when compared to other colleges, Villanova’s fitness facilities are meager and unsatisfactory.

James Madison University is comparable to Villanova. The average high school GPA of a James Madison student is 3.64, while at Villanova it is 3.63. The average SAT score of James Madison students is 1165 compared to ‘Nova’s 1238. The main difference is the tuition. According to princetonreview.com, and putting aside financial aid, the total four-year tuition at Villanova is $104, 516.26 per student. At James Madison, the total comes to $58,962.44 for out-of-state tuition. With such a huge difference in tuitions one would think that ‘Nova would offer fitness and recreation facilities to brag about. This is not the case. Compared to the services and facilities that James Madison offers, Villanova should be embarrassed.

URec is the fitness building on the campus of James Madison University. The center offers racquetball courts, a free weight area, and 5,000 square feet of hardwood floors for miscellaneous gym use. URec has an 11-lane pool and two fitness centers offering cardiovascular equipment and weights. The “Cycle Studio” is home to many stationary bikes and is used for classes. In addition to all of this, there is an impressive 24-by 35-foot climbing wall available to students.

During finals, several massage therapists came to ‘Nova for one night to help us relieve some tension. Well James Madison does not just offer the stress reliever on one night, but instead a year round massage studio.

James Madison is not the only school that puts Villanova’s workout options to shame. Salisbury University in Maryland is a public state school. The university brings in considerably less money than ‘Nova, yet still manages to offer students fitness options. At the Maggs Physical Activities Center there there are weights, aerobic machines, racquetball and indoor tennis courts, a pool, and once again, a climbing wall.

Villanova puts a lot of emphasis on health and wellness, yet there are hardly any options for students to stay fit. The infamous Freshman 15 isn’t going to go away on its own. The website for ‘Nova’s Health and Wellness center emphasizes student well-being; however, if you look at the services, links, and information given, most of it concerns alcohol and drugs. While this is an important subject to cover with students, maybe the school should emphasize how important it is to maintain endurance and physical fitness. Plus, a decent array of options for students to work out and stay in shape would be something else that would attract students to the school.

To put it simply, ‘Nova needs an up-to-date, well-equipped recreation center for students to work out – preferably one where the pins to the weight circuit machines are not missing, and where there are not lines to use the treadmills. I am not asking for a climbing wall or anything like that, just a place that is in a comfortable environment for all students to work out in, and one which offers wider variety of ways for students to stay in shape.