Campus recreation asks SFAC to maintain budget
Campus Recreation asked the Student Fees Advisory Committee to maintain its budget Thursday afternoon in the Senate Chamber in Student Center North.
The organization asked for a budget of $302,493 for the 2019-2020 year, the same amount approved for the current Fiscal Year 2019.
Director of Campus Recreation Kim Clark said the goal of the organization is to provide the UH community with a cultivating environment in the form of recreation programs, facilities and other services they offer.
“Students are facing increased levels of anxiety and depression,” Clark said, adding that exercising may be beneficial for alleviating these problems and, “not exercising is worse for well-being than diabetes, smoking and heart disease.”
Among Campus Recreation’s many activities and services for students are swim instruction, fitness training, Cougar Summer Camp, outdoors trips for students, the climbing wall and 24 different active sports clubs, said Associate Director of Campus Recreation Rachel O’Mara.
Highlights presented from the past year included the Cat’s Back semester kick-off event, internship offers for students and the American Red Cross Top 10 Training Provider Award, Clark said.
The impact left by Hurricane Harvey last year stifled growth, however, and Campus Recreation saw a decline in intramural sports participation and member services. The organization was also down a full-time staff position, which has since been filled.
“We believe strongly that we contribute to student success,” Clark said.
Among students who used Campus Recreation’s main facility more than 32 times last year, the average GPA hovered at a 3.08, she said.
Improvements to Campus Recreation’s operations last year included new tablets, a brand new online portal meant to facilitate the registration process of some programs for students and faculty and the implementation of FreedomPay to ease the monthly payment plans of alumni members, Clark said.
The Campus Recreation and Wellness Center will be 16 years old in January, and Clark has plans set in place to renovate the facility’s roof, walls and foundation in the near future. The building currently leaks moisture, which has caused damage to the wood floor and the terrazzo. Most of the aging carpet inside the rec will also be replaced this December, Clark said.
Clark also wants to increase field space across campus, with a primary focus on the Gertner Fields complex on the corner of Elgin Street and Cullen Boulevard. Looking farther into the future, Clark also has plans to develop the MacGregor property into recreation fields.
“We are behind every benchmark (in terms of field space) across the country,” Clark said. “We are aware that we are lacking field space, and we’re making that a priority.”
The $106 dedicated fee to use the rec makes up 85 percent of the budget, Clark said. Campus Recreation was also one of the lowest paying employers on campus, but the department is taking steps to change this, she said.
Other changes Clark is looking at for the future include an increase of operating hours on Friday nights and a marketing campaign focused on lowering the gender gap of students who use the center.