By Madeline Morkin ’22
Assistant Opinion Editor
In semesters prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Providence College students often went to bed at night by setting morning alarms for class, the gym, or just as a wake-up for the general start of their next day. Just as COVID-19 has affected many of the once-regular ways in which students function around campus, it has led to the quite irregular use and practice of setting midnight wake-up alarms or reminders prior to the 12 a.m. IMLeagues release of gym slot openings for the following day.
Prior to COVID-19, PC’s Concannon Fitness Center welcomed any student or professor seeking to use the facility. With leisure and without thought, the PC community could make plans or last-minute decisions to utilize the gym’s machines, workout mats, weights, and other facility offerings whenever they wanted to go and for however long they desired to stay. Unfortunately, new COVID-19 restrictions on campus have led to a much more difficult and inconvenient process when one attempts to work out on campus.
Now, for the sake of maintaining safe social distances between gym-goers, Concannon Fitness Center allows only 50 students to work out simultaneously. Through a registration process on IMLeagues, students are forced to register for a one-hour-and-10-minute-long time slot in which they can utilize the facility. However, signing up through this platform is a difficult process in itself. Now, it is necessary to be awake at midnight in order to secure a spot in the gym for any time the following day.
During both this current spring and the past fall semester, students have had to say goodbye to the days of convenient workouts, last-minute decisions to head to the gym, and even the certainty of getting to work out every day. Sometimes, these one-hour-and-10-minute-long time slots fill up just minutes after their 12 a.m. release, pushing many students onto a waitlist with the hopes that one of the 50 lucky registered students may decide to cancel last-minute, making one more spot available.
Additionally, IMLeagues offers no restriction on how often a student may sign-up for a gym slot. With over 4,500 undergraduate students, and only 50 one-hour-and-10-minute-long time slots starting at 6 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m., many students are left without any option to utilize the facility at all.
While working out has been proven to be a great way to reduce stress and to stay healthy, students have been stripped of the ease and, often, even the potential of maintaining either a regular or irregular workout schedule on campus. Working out may fit into the typical daily routine of many students at PC, but IMLeagues’s spot release time does not consider that many students are—or would like to be—asleep at this hour. In addition, it does not consider that the students who are more prepared with set alarms and reminders are those who consistently secure these slots.
For the benefit of all PC students, IMLeagues should offer some type of restriction on how frequently a student may register for the gym. Whether this be developing a restriction on the maximum number of times in which a student may register for the gym per week, or how many days in a row a student may register for a gym slot at a particular time, the College should acknowledge that the campus community, as a whole, is not currently maintaining the once recent ability to achieve a healthy lifestyle by heading to Concannon Fitness Center. Developing registration restrictions would create a more fair and realistic process to allow more students to head to the gym, like they once could so easily.