Every major university or college offers students the opportunity to learn about stress management and juggling school and a healthy lifestyle. Majority of these campus recreation centers offer students a multi-million-dollar experience. Florida A&M University has one of those campus recreation centers that offer a multi-million-dollar experience, but on a near $90,00.00 budget cut, because of enrollment.
The Spring 2017 late opening of FAMU’s Hansel E. Tookes, Sr. Student Recreation Center took students by surprise. The delay in the kick-off of their New Year resolutions, was one they weren’t expecting.
According to David Nesbit Jr., a senior health administration student, when he came back from winter break all he wanted to do was go to the recreation center.
“It actually surprised me that they weren’t open as soon as school started. It is unfortunate because we pay our money to go there, we pay our money to enjoy the activities there and it isn’t really open when we want it to be. I really don’t understand why,” Nesbit said.
Though many students similar to Nesbit, don’t understand why, behind the scenes the questions aren’t being answered either.
According to Robert D. Carroll, Jr., Director of Campus Recreation, students must “get SGA to see value in recreation and put money into it” and if not, as an HBCU, what is the school promoting about African American health and well-being.
The budget cuts served to the campus recreation center has caused many things to downsize, including staff size and the number of working exercise equipment.
The delay in opening the recreation center occurred because of “insufficient commitment, as far as dollars,” said Carroll.
To get the recreation center back into operation, Carroll recalls his “supervisors did a shake down” for the Spring 2017 semester.
The frequently visited issues that FAMU’s recreation center faces includes: lack of staff and maintenance involving the exercise equipment.
According to Associate Director of Facilities/Operations, Gei-Nam Lim, had big goals for FAMU’s campus recreation center when he first arrived to FAMU in 2002 from FSU.
“We would have fitness programs, group exercise programs, nutrition programs,” Lim said, “when you don’t have a [big enough] budget, everything is at a standstill. We are in survival mode.”
The decrease in funds, according to Lim, began in 2009 when the recreation center got a new facility in the fields. Growing in acres and decreasing by staff, what once was a 28-trainer filled facility is now down to the help of a few work study students.
Though the FAMU’s recreation center has experienced budget cuts, they have still managed to create a safe and healthy environment for the students.
“We have to chip in and move things around. We used to have people to come do the repairs, and now we have to do it,” said Lim, “I help train students when I see them making mistakes.”
According to Carrol, despite the budget cuts, the goal of the campus recreation center is to “get folks in the mindset of taking care of themselves.”