Alumni shouldn’t pay full fee to use WREC

Nick Sestanovich
Nick Sestanovich

The Wildcat Recreation Center is easily one of my favorite things about Chico State. Instead of shelling out money each day to use a tiny gym to stay healthy, a fee from my tuition allows me to work out in an enormous high-tech fitness center with several different amenities. I can use an elliptical, run around an indoor track or swim in a pool all without paying for each visit. It truly is a great experience.

My issue with the WREC is knowing I’ll only be able to use it for a few more semesters before I’m forced to start paying a fee. Only current Chico State students can use the facility without having to pay for each visit. Alumni are subjected to the standard $10 per day guest pass and they have to accompany a current Chico State student, according to the WREC handbook. It should not be this way. Students have played a vital role in shaping the WREC for the past four years, so I believe those who have graduated should still be able to use it. They don’t necessarily have to use it for free, but perhaps having a $5 discount would suffice.

It’s because of former students that we have the WREC at all. Students may not have been the ones to built the gym, but they’re the ones who essentially made it what it is. Former students voted on a bond to approve the construction of a student fitness center back in 2005, four years before any of those students got to use it. Associated Students helped fund the WREC’s construction in the intervening years, and it’s students who have continued to fund it through their tuition fees ever since it opened. Allowing alumni to continue to use the facility would be a good way to thank them for their years of funding it. If they helped support it during their time at Chico State, they should continue to support it after completing Chico State.

To illustrate, let’s take a look at how much has gone into the WREC over the last four years. The WREC opened in fall 2009, putting it in its ninth semester as of now. There are more than 15,000 students currently enrolled at Chico State, according to U.S. News and World Report. They pay a $379 fee that goes to the WREC, according to the Chico State website. Multiplying that all together means students have contributed roughly more than $51 million to the gym. That’s more than enough to spend on new equipment, renovations and just about anything else the WREC needs. It’s the alumni who help made those things possible. The best way to repay them is to let them continue to use the WREC at a lower cost.

However, there is a reason why only current students can use the WREC without paying each visit. The aim of the referendum to build the facility was not to compete with local gyms, it was designed for current students and faculty, according to WREC Director Rick Scott.

“We’re trying to accommodate our existing student base and be good stewards of student money,” said.

I completely understand not extending the WREC’s membership to the entire community. I can also understand giving the most priority to current students and faculty, as they’re the ones actively using it. However, I don’t think alumni should have to pay $10 to be the gym’s guest. Not everybody who graduates is going to have friends attending Chico State in the following years, so they will be left out. Yes, there are other local gyms they can use, but it’s the WREC that I know I would want to gravitate toward. I’ve had a lot of fun times at this place, and I’d hate to not be able to use it again.

 

Nick Sestanovich can be reached at [email protected] or @Nsestanovich on Twitter.