Recreation and Athletics want to increase their fee-levy, meaning cheaper gym memberships and free Stingers games, but it will also increase student fees.
The Department of Recreation and Athletics, which encompasses Le Gym and the Stingers, is putting a question on referendum to increase its fee-levy from $2.92 to $5 per credit. The increase would mean all Le Gym and PERFORM Centre memberships would be cut by 50 per cent, and all Stingers games would be free for students.
Fee-levies are student-elected organizations that are mostly funded by student fees. Yet, Recreation and Athletics is a university department and its fee-levy cannot be opted out of; meaning that students could pay more in their student fees. A student taking four classes would pay an extra $25 dollars per semester.
“We noticed that the fee-levy, the money we get from the students, hasn’t gone up in 10 years,” said Kathleen DiCaprio, marketing manager for Recreation and Athletics.
She explained that the department has been getting requests from students asking for more clubs and more services that are less expensive. But due to the fact that the fee-levy hasn’t gone up, they are limited in what they can offer.
“Our facilities are aging, what we are offering to students is not innovative,” she said.
DiCaprio said that the 50 per cent cut would take the current Le Gym membership from $70 to $35. The PERFORM Centre, which is separate from the department and Le Gym, has agreed to reduce their membership similarly.
In addition, Le Gym would also be free for all Concordia students in the summer, although the PERFORM Centre would not be.
The department also wants to create more informal recreation spaces, such as campus-wide ping-pong tables, as well as alternative ones like hiking or chess, where people that don’t go to the gym or do sports can still relax, said DiCaprio.
“Students don’t want to have to go to a gym or a specific place to work out or have fun,” she said. “People just want to hang out with each other, not have to pay, and just play informally.”
DiCaprio understands that the increase will mean that students will pay more in their fees, but she feels that what is being offered justifies the increase.
“You are always going to have those students that don’t use it, but our goal is to increase that so everyone is involved,” said DiCaprio, adding that the increase for students is marginal compared to the benefits it will create.
Shubh Shah, a Concordia student helping with the campaign, believes that all Concordia students will benefit from the various upgrades the fee-levy increase will create.
“All these new aspects promote better health and wellbeing among students,” he said. “It could also be seen as a step in increasing a healthier and more active environment at our university.”
Shah believes that even if students do not use any of these services, they must understand the benefits this will add to the Concordia community.
In an online statement, Concordia University said that physical exercise improves sleep, concentration, overall health, and mental health.
In an article for the Guardian, Bella Mackie reported that physical health and mental health are interconnected, but it is difficult to persuade people to exercise regularly.
Kayla Hedman reported in the Huffington Post that building a healthy relationship with exercise for mental wellbeing is important for every individual, especially college students that live a stressful, sedentary lifestyle. Thus it is important for students to build healthy habits regarding exercise and athletics.
“When people partake in these kinds of activities, their mental and physical health go up, their concentration goes up,” said DiCaprio. “Through these activities people create more friends and meet new people.”
However, DiCaprio said that the department wants the students to decide on the referendum if they want the increase.
Mahwish Jamail, a Concordia student, said she doesn’t mind paying extra, but understands that some students will find the possible increase of $25 a difficult obstacle.
“I do not use any service provided by Le Gym,” Jamail said. “But I don’t mind paying extra because that means a student that is unable to pay has a chance to participate.”
Photo by Laurence B.D.