KPU Surrey’s fitness centre becomes free for students

Kwantlen Student Association chops costs.
By Kier-Christer Junos
[contributing editor]

Kwantlen students can now workout for free at the Surrey campus fitness centre, as the Kwantlen Student Association has made it so that service is free to its members.

Steven Button, the KSA vice-president of student services, says the student association helped subsidize student gym costs for the sake of bettering student accessibility. The gym grossed about $6000 annually, according to a KSA council meeting on Oct. 17. The KSA essentially bought the revenue that students paid—which the athletics department used mostly for machine maintenance—to make the fitness centre completely free for students as of Nov. 1.

KPU’s Athletics and recreation director David Kent says the real goal is to get students to “fall back in love with [their] school.”

“We’re here to support you folks and we’re here to make sure you have a good time,” he says. “Money shouldn’t be a barrier for recreation, when it’s a barrier to get your textbooks or to be able to be in classrooms.”

The KSA already provides the Steve Nash Fitness World pass for students. Button believes that “[It’s] a little odd that the student association can sell a really great fitness pass, but it doesn’t cover the gym on campus.” Button says students dislike the lack of connection between the fitness pass and the campus gym. The fitness pass is offered at a $5 discount.

“The idea behind that was that we don’t actually have a fitness centre on all campuses,” says Button, “and we wanted students to have access to a fitness centre.” He adds that when it came time to negotiate the gym, buying the small revenue the gym was already drawing made the move a “no-brainer.” The intention of the subsidy includes incorporating the existing fitness pass with the Surrey campus fitness centre.

Button says there are possibilities for changes in the gym, but nothing has been solidified yet. Kent points out that as the KSA doesn’t have any administrative capabilities, the partnership between the athletics department and the KSA is a marriage of the KSA’s provided extra-curricular activities, and the athletics department’s ventures.

“We’re promoting together, we’re marketing together, but we’re staying in the lanes of what we’ve started and are responsible for,” says Kent.

Braeden Copeland works at the Surrey campus fitness centre and noted that there’s “not enough space” in the gym. When it becomes full, he can’t do much for a workshop. He argues that the price of what students initially paid, $15.96 monthly, is costly given the size of the gym compared to the Steve Nash Fitness World in Surrey. He believes that’s likely one of the contributing factors that discourages the use of the gym.

“If I’m working out here, and say I’m doing back, and I can’t do it a lot of the time,” says Copeland. “I’ll do, say, half here, and then I’ll go run over to Steve Nash.” Nevertheless, Copeland thinks the new cost of zero will be great for students.

Kent realizes that the lack of space in the fitness centre is an issue, but also that space is not a commodity because of the centre’s hindered access. Kent thinks that extra-curricular activities are important for everyone, and adds that chopping costs for students is a strategy to bring more of the 16,000+ students, who aren’t working out, to the fitness centre.

“I think everyone needs to have an outlet,” says Kent. “I wouldn’t be in this business if I didn’t think athletics, at any level, was the best outlet in the world.”

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