Writer: Grace Miller
Designer: Jericho Krueger
It is a Wednesday at 6:00 PM. After a long day of classes and a shift at the local coffee shop, a student walks into the weight room in the fitness centre at the Burnaby campus of BCIT. They find the personal storage area so full that they put their sweatshirt and keys into a cupboard already in use. After grabbing a cleaning rag and warming up on the treadmill, they search for a bench to do a workout set of workouts, yet they are all taken. Unfortunately for this student, Recreation Services at BCIT has been successful in its goal to support the improvements to the physical health of its staff and students.
A great scene which combats the 2018-19 Statistics Canada results found that physical activity recommendations were met by half of Canadian adults. However, a study from the Canadian Institute for Health Information from 2020-2021 shows that obesity is still apparent in 22.9% of British Columbians and is rising in numbers.
As a prominent organization with over 52,000 students and staff, BCIT’s community has many people who rely on their recreation services to provide physical health services. Students and staff in intellectually strenuous roles at BCIT may find difficulty in maintaining mental health, so BCIT suggests that participating in physical activity is helpful. It has become standard for post-secondary institutions to provide a fitness centre, but what do they offer to those reliant on their health resources?
Based on the information on the websites of Vancouver’s universities, they offer a lot. Simon Fraser University offers an Aquatic Centre and Climbing Wall, which BCIT does not have. Similarly, the University of British Columbia has ice sports and rowing as recreation options. All of these are accessible to the public and go beyond their responsibility to students and staff to help the average citizen living in Vancouver.
Yet, the facility provided by BCIT is not unkempt in comparison. It has various options for students to access fitness at their Aerospace, Annacis, Burnaby, and Marine campuses, as well as a Downtown facility set to reopen in October. Upgrades have been made to the spaces, as noted by alumn commentary regarding that 11 years ago the primary physical health centre at the Burnaby campus was overly limited machinery. Now, the equipment is modern enough for students to attend a powerlifting club.
This campus also offers usage of a gymnasium, outdoor track, basketball court, tennis court, frisbee golf, and ping pong tables for free to students and staff. Students and staff have free admission to the fitness centre through their ID cards and public membership options at differing rates. For students beginning to exercise their athletic abilities, there are many classes ranging from Ballet Barre at $48 to Boxing Level 2 for $100.
BCIT Recreation has also made notable efforts to lessen potential limitations to members. Students with disabilities can enter the Burnaby Fitness Centre from multiple routes without using a ramp and can use an ID card scanner on a lowered front counter for easy access. Similarly, gym staff in the weight room are easy to ask to help for assistance in using various equipment. Extensive guidelines also promote a safe environment for members to use recreation services. For busy students, the recreation service provides hours of operation for the weight room ranging from 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM and gymnasium hours regularly from 6:00 AM to 5:30 PM.
Though these efforts may seem minimal to those dependent on BCIT’s physical health resources, they have an effective outreach to help the BCIT community access their physical health needs. Students and staff can improve their overall health through efforts made by BCIT Recreation Services. So, students struggling with mental and physical health should use any of the opportunities provided to find support for their fitness capabilities.