Poor gym facilities in opposition to Park’s core values


On a weekday in October 2021, Labor Hall sits empty with outdated equipment. All Park University students are welcome to use this gym during its operating hours.

Skyler Jensen

Healthy is a word that sparks many images. For most, including myself, a healthy person is someone who eats fruits and vegetables and exercises on a regular basis.

However, at Park University, there is a significant hindrance to students’ access to a healthy life.

There are two main gyms on the Parkville campus. One is in the Underground and the other is in Labor Hall.  However, only athletes can access the gym in the Underground and any student can access the gym in Labor Hall.

The one in the Underground is considered to be the nicest gym on campus with updated equipment and a fully furnished gym. The other facilities are lackluster in comparison.

In Labor Hall, the gym is outdated and lacks quality equipment. There are no barbells, and the mechanical equipment, including the treadmills, frequently fails. In spring 2021, most of the treadmills broke until there was only one left for students to use for several weeks.

This is disappointing because there are many benefits to having an adequate exercise facility.

First and foremost, exercising can help improve people’s physical health. Consistent exercise can reduce a person’s risk of a heart attack as well as lower the risk of type two diabetes and some cancers. The risk of high blood pressure is also reduced by regular exercise. It can also strengthen people’s bones, muscles and joints, according to the CDC.

Improving physical health can lead to a longer life. It can also decrease stresses of people’s lives. Many people with these health issues have to worry about paying for their medical appointments and medicine. These issues often become lifelong worries as the health issue are typically permanent.

In addition to physical health, mental health can also be improved with exercise. Exercise can boost a person’s energy and improve their mood. It can also help to increase sleep and reduce anxiety and depression, according to the CDC.

This means it may also help with small issues, such as anxiety students have or stress from classes. In a metanalysis by Steven J. Petruzzello and Allyson G. Box in Kinesiology Review, exercise was highlighted as a way to facilitate better mental health among college students. Even beyond the specific stressors of college, a lot of students also have larger mental health issues that could benefit from the effects of regular exercise.

Mental health has become a large issue in society. The stigma surrounding it has lessened and more people are speaking out about their own difficulties with mental illnesses. Because so many people have concerns with their mental health, it should be a greater concern to Park University.

One way to show that concern would be to upgrade the exercise facility for all students.

Non-student-athletes do not get to benefit from the same mental and physical health benefits that student-athletes get to experience.

If these students who are not officially Park athletes want to live a fully healthy lifestyle, then they have to pay for access to other gyms in the area. Even a reduced rate to the YMCA may still be too large of an expense for a college student to pay. They may not have the funds for both their education and their health. It also makes it less convenient for students to have to go off campus in order to be active.

Park University has multiple core values. Two of which are inclusivity and social responsibility. To demonstrate their dedication to those values, Park should improve the gyms that all students are allowed access to in order to improve the quality of life for their students.