The issue concerns mainly the indoor sport facilities, such as the fitness room. Users experience a crowded gym and long waiting times, especially in the evenings. ‘On crowded moments there are about fifty people in the gym, while the ideal capacity is about thirty,’ says Kleinenberg. ‘On some days it is so busy that people have to wait for a machine or for help from the trainers. And when it’s so crowded, it is not fun anymore.’
'Sometimes we have to say no'
Because of the capacity, the Sports Center can’t cater to everyone who is interested in using it, explains Kleinenberg. ‘There are more than thirty student associations that represent our core business and we want to offer the space to them, but we also get requests for group lessons that also want to use the space in the primetime – and the group lessons in primetime are usually fully booked. ROC Twente also expressed their interest to use our facilities, but it’s simply not possible. We are too crowded already. So sometimes we have to say no.’
Finding a solution together
Is there any solution in sight? ‘People know when it’s busy and are starting to come at less popular times, but it is difficult for many of them, especially students. In combination with the TOM model, it is often not possible for them to come before 6 pm,’ says Kleinenberg. ‘We offer many things outdoors, but the pressure on indoors facilities is just high. It’s a problem mainly in winter time.’
‘We need to find a solution together with the community,’ concludes the Head of the Sports Center. ‘Together with the Student Union and the Sportkoepel we are writing a report about this and we will present it to the Executive Board in the coming months. The university is growing, the number of students is growing and the employees need space for exercise, so they can maintain their wellbeing. In the end, it’s a good thing that so many people come here. It means that they want to get and stay fit.’
What do the users themselves think of the current situation in the Sports Center, specifically the gym on campus? ‘I try not to go in the evenings because it is simply far too busy. Monday especially. Personally, I try to come around 4-5 pm as that is just before dinner and it is a good time to avoid the crowds,’ says Mart Grefte (23, MSc IDE). ‘I think we definitely do need a bigger gym but I don’t see how that is feasible.’
‘I go in the evenings after 4 pm,’ says Brolin Fernandes (24, MSc I-Tech). ‘Any time from 8 pm onwards is very busy. For me however, I don’t see the amount of people as that big of a problem. If my machine is taken, I’ll go do something else. Besides, in India the wait is considerably longer so I don’t really mind it here.’
'There are never many people in the morning'
An option could be to get up early and go to the gym in the morning, which opens at 7:45 am. That’s what Raluca Lăzărescu (20, BSc EE) does. ‘This easily clashes with my lecture schedule but I plan my timetable in advance about how I will compensate in advance. There are never many people in the morning using the machines but because of the group lessons, there sometimes is not enough place for me to do my mat exercises. I don’t really think we need a bigger gym. If the machines are placed differently the space could be used more efficiently.’
‘I can’t go to the gym in the mornings because I have lectures. I normally go after dinner but it is jam-packed,’ adds Meike Kruger (19, BSc IEM). ‘I can almost never do the exercises I want to do which forces me to do other exercises. On average, I work out less than I plan to originally.’ She concludes: ‘I really think something should be done about this.’