Closing of the WREC takes away more than just a workout

The WREC during the April shutdown. Photo courtesy of Arrow VanAbrams.

The closing of the Wildcat Recreation Center may have stung the morale of the student body more than the closure of any other campus building. Many students heavily depend on the WREC to help them cope with the stress of studies in a healthy way. 

Some students may be unaffected by the WREC shutting its doors. For others however, it has bigger ramifications beyond  working out. The latter is the case for senior student-athlete Kristin Worley. 

Worley, a star shortstop on the Chico State softball team, had her promising 2020 season cut short due to COVID-19. She and the rest of her team retained an extra year of eligibility, so it is imperative that they stay in shape over this extended break in order to pick up where they left off. Worley is a self-proclaimed “gym rat”, and has not had the easiest time transitioning to the quarantine lifestyle.

Kristin Worley spots a teammate while bench pressing in Acker Gym.

“When things get really chaotic or stressful, that’s (the WREC) my go-to place,” Worley said. 

Worley explained how she uses the WREC as a place to not only work on herself physically, but mentally as well.

“I had some family things going on throughout that week,” Worley said. “Then softball was suspended…then the WREC closed. Everything was falling downhill and my emotions were all over the place.”

Not only did students lose their exercise facility, but student employees working at the WREC also lost their jobs. 

Savannah Shapley is a senior and has been a WREC employee for the past three years. She had worked as a personal trainer and group exercise leader, which typically called for a six day work week.

“It was a huge part of my life taken away,” Shapley said. “It wasn’t just working out there, but working there, too. It’s where I built my community and have some of my closest friends.”

Savannah Shapley on the second floor of The WREC. Photo Courtesy of The WREC staff.

Shapley explained that initially after the closure, WREC employees were still allowed to come in to perform maintenance and sanitation tasks. Unfortunately after a few weeks, that changed and now student employees are no longer allowed on the premises. On the bright side, a few student employees, including Shapley, have been tasked with creating paid digital content for the WREC’s social media. 

Without the WREC as an outlet to burn away the stress of academics and other stressors, students may find themselves coping with unhealthy alternatives. This is not the answer. There are countless combinations of home workouts one can do with little to no equipment to keep active.

“Some advice (for those at home trying to find the motivation to workout): take a week off to get your mind and body right. Then switch gears, and look at it as an opportunity to work on yourself and stay away from things that are detrimental to your goals,” Shapely said.

The WREC has provided a great outlet for students when they feel stressed, overwhelmed or simply want to put in a great workout. While the WREC and other gyms may be closed, this forces an opportunity for students to get creative and find alternative ways to stay fit, active and healthy. 

Arrow VanAbrams can be reached at [email protected] or @Arrow_3 on Twitter.