The University of Maryland SGA introduced a bill at its meeting Wednesday to support the construction of an outdoor recreational facility and workout equipment near the Reckord Armory or Engineering Fields.
The bill will be voted on at next week’s meeting.
At its meeting last week, the Student Government Association received 13 student concerns regarding the lack of workout equipment, specifically pull-up bars, on South Campus. Thirteen students also submitted concerns for tonight’s meeting regarding the same subject.
Among the backers of the bill are members of this university’s ROTC program. Several students mentioned how nearly 600 Army, Navy and Airforce ROTC Cadets would benefit from the areas. The draft of the bill also mentions the benefits to the cadets.
“Students deserve more outdoor workout facilities,” said Joshua Winston, a senior public policy major and SGA public policy representative. “After a year of being inside in COVID, I think it’s a good time for the university to recognize all the opportunities that there are to workout outside.”
University Recreation and Wellness supports the initiative, Winston said.
“Students have explained to me in the past that it is not fair for students [who] live all the way in South Campus to travel all the way to North Campus to use that one outdoor gym facility,” said Winston, who sponsored the bill and is a member of the Army ROTC.
The new bill would see the SGA submit a proposal to the Student Facilities Fund for the workout area.
The Student Facilities Fund is a pot of money, filled by the $18 mandatory student facilities fee, and set aside for physical campus improvements that enhance student life. Any university community member can send proposals for campus improvement projects to the fund’s committee.
The fund was created in 1999, but did not fund any projects until 2015. The fund has spent about $3.5 million to date and about $1.37 million sits unused in it, according to Josie Shaffer, SGA vice president, who is also a former chair of the fund’s committee.
Currently, two outdoor workout areas are in the planning stage. The Student Facilities Fund allocated $66,000 for the construction of a pair of Thrive 450 workout structures in the fall 2019 semester but no ground has been broken yet because the final locations have not been finalized by the Architectural and Landscape Review Board.
“When projects are ugly, they get sent to the Architectural Landscape Review Board,” Shaffer said. “It’s delayed because they need time to do site evaluations.”
In the fall of 2017, the Student Facilities Fund allocated money for the construction of the ROTC Challenge Course that now sits outside Xfinity Center.
The SGA also passed three bills during the meeting that the body introduced last week. The bills collectively create a sexual assault awareness campaign, mental health first aide training sessions and a social media push promoting free emergency contraception.
An amendment was added to the bill for the creation of the mental health first aid training clarifying that the training will be free for students.