Gym Swipes Lead to Upgrades

Nicole Battista, Reporter

University officials are encouraging students who go to the gym to swipe their ID cards at the front desk to keep the gym in the best shape possible.

The swipe machine at the front desk keeps track of people in the gym, how many people are entering, and how long they stay, said Pete Egbert, Fitness Center Coordinator.

The attendance numbers provide evidence for the need of equipment upgrades or additions, and if repairs are needed, they will be scheduled.

Work study student Nick Hair, a first-year computer science and mathematics major, said when a person swipes his or her card, the individual’s ID number and the time of day is recorded.

Many students don’t seem to be aware of the swipe machine near the entrance or they don’t know how it works or what it does.

A sheet of paper on the doors reads, “You must swipe your card at the front desk,” and provides other rules and regulations.

The swipe machine is necessary because it prevents unauthorized people from going in and out of the facility, Egbert said.

A second swipe machine is located on the desk to the right of a water cooler.

A sign near that machine reads, “You must swipe your own card.” It also provides instructions about how to swipe, and instructs users to swipe with the black bar on the back of the ID card facing away from the machine and then press the ‘CLEAR’ button.

Egbert said there are heavier flows of use during winter weather when people are hesitant to spend time outdoors and feel “cabin fever.”

“It is important for us to track seasonally what we need to do in the center,” Egbert said.

For those who do not know about the swipe system, the work study student behind the desk is there to help, Egbert said.

Hair said his job, as well as that of the other student workers, is to sign in people as they enter the building.

A worker mans the desk from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. during the school week. The desk is empty from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.

During that time, Egbert tries to reach out to students in the gym when he can, prompting them to swipe their cards. On the weekend, the desk is staffed during open hours.

Tyler Ter Bush, a senior sport management major, is one of the people who swipes his card on a regular basis.

He said he visits the gym four times a week for about two hours each day, and he has noticed that the “regulars,” students who are often at the gym, are “usually the only ones who swipe.”

Ter Bush began the habit of  swiping his card after workers repetitively told him to do it. He then learned why he was swiping his card, which provided more incentive for him to continue the habit.

Other students should feel the incentive as well.

“Ultimately, the swipe helps them,” Egbert said. “If they swipe, we can continue to upgrade and make sure that it is a first class facility.”

Egbert said that when the facility first opened, the gym was fully staffed with work study students, and this allowed a more accurate number on the system each day.

The work study program was cut two years ago, significantly impacting service at the gym, Egbert said.

The number of student workers is half of what it used to be.

If no one is there to prompt students to swipe in, Egbert said everyone is necessarily on an honor system.

“You either swipe or you don’t,” Egbert said.

Ter Bush said that people simply don’t feel it’s necessary.

Egbert said a lack of education may be a factor.

Ter Bush suggested that the work study students “police” the swiping and make spread the word about its purpose.

Hair said students often don’t hear his instructions or they go straight to the equipment when they enter the facility.

“They will have their headphones in when they come, and then they will say, ‘I do not want to swipe in because I am already lifting,’” he said.

Another solution, to increase the amount of swipes is to rearrange the entrance areas, but Egbert said officials may switch locker space and the desk.

This arrangement would force those who enter to face the desk, and that could help ensure that they swipe in.

Hair suggested that students should have to swipe their card with the machine to enter, but he acknowledged that one student could let in four others and prevent an accurate reading.

“If and when we do that, we will better be able to train our student body to swipe in.”

[email protected]