6B Wednesday, December 3 2014 // The Statement
Raisng the bar: CCRB looks to improve ts facilities
Z .ach Shaw
famous by association:
BY MARIAM SHEIKH
'UWecome to Michigan.
A maize banner hung next to
the entrance of the Central Cam-
pus Recreation Building for the final week of
August with these words written in blue let-
ters - a small act designed to help returning
and incoming students feel welcomed in one of
the school's most-visited buildings.
But once inside, welcoming probably isn't
the right word to convey the building's atmo-
sphere. On the first floor, dozens of students
can be found waiting in line for pick-up games
of basketball and volleyball, while above them
two friends cut their run short due to the
Further down the hall, patrons are disap-
pointed to learn of the pool's early closure
because there is a shortage of lifeguards.
Downstairs, the weight room features 64
men, zero women and one window.
Welcome to Michigan.
Every day, the recreational sports depart-
ment at the University does what they can
to address crowds, outdated equipment and
comfortable environments, but sometimes the
facts pile up just a little too high.
It's a fact that when the CCRB was built
in 1977, enrollment was 26,673. Today it sits
at 43,625 - a 63.5-percent increase - but the
University's primary fitness facility has yet to
undergo any expansionary construction.
It's a fact that the average age of equip-
ment at the CCRB is cited by its directors as
nine years old and features a track and pool
that haven't been updated in more than two
The University - one of the founding
fathers of intramural and recreational sports
- has fallen behind other schools, small and
large, in the quality of its fitness facilities, and
must raise the bar in order to keep up.
Welcome to Michigan.
As a freshman, you were undoubtedly told
of what recreational sports had to offer. With
three major fitness centers, all equipped with
weights, gymnasiums, cardio equipment and
pools, there's plenty of great options to exer-
cise year-round for no additional charge.
Engineering freshman Melinda Kothbauer
remembers how excited she was when she
heard about the opportunities that would be
before her when she finally made it to campus.
"It's easy to forget how nice it is to have mul-
tiple gyms within walking distance that don't
cost anything extra," Kothbauer said. "Other
schools do it too I guess, but it's still really
Kothbauer said she has enjoyed the CCRBin
her first semester, so much so that she bought
a U-Move season pass, giving her access to a
variety of fitness classes. But her appreciation
- didn't come without some early lessons.
"I remember walking into the weight room,
and just seeing all these huge guys around,"
Kothbauer said. "It was really intimidating,
especially since I'm not a weightlifter or any-
"It's kind of like that everywhere (in the
building). You can tell the majority of the peo-
ple who use the CCRB work out all the time,
so you definitely feel self-conscious and avoid
peak hours if that isn't you."
Kothbauer said she grew accustomed to the
CCRB, but her past experiences with gyms left
the CCRB with more to be desired.
"They sound like really small things, but
I've worked out at gyms in the past that had
windows, high ceilings, natural lighting, plac-
es to set your stuff and just more space," Koth-
bauer said. "Itall seems small, but it adds up to
the overall experience."
She's not alone. When the CCRB opened in
1977, Rocky Balboa had just started downing
raw eggs and punching meat carcasses in gray
sweatsuits, giving fitness a very distinct brand.
To say working out has changed since then is
Mike Widen, the director of Recreational
Sports at the University, is well aware of these
expanded boundaries. Since arriving to Ann
Arbor from the University of Iowa last Sep-
tember, Widen has pushed for major overhauls
in all three facilities. The initiative could be
realized thanks to a $65 per-student fee enact-
ed last year, and has already broughtforth new
turf and lightingsystems at Mitchell Field.
As of right now, the Intramural Sports
Building will begin renovations in May, the
North Campus Recreation Building will
begin in 2016 and - provided the Kinesiology
research facilities and classrooms currently
located throughout can be vacated to new
buildings - the CCRB will begin construction
The reasons for these renovations, Widen
said, are obvious.
Recreation has changed a lotsince the facil-
ities were built in 1928 and 1976. Wilden said
today, there is more group exercising, cardio
and need for multipurpose rooms. The Univer-
sity's facilities, he said, simply don't match up.
"Our students deserve to have modern
and enjoyable exercise opportunities as part
of their experience here on campus," he said.
"We hadn't really invested alot in the past few
decades in that idea. Now we have the oppor-
tunity to get our facilities upgraded so they're
worthy of the Michigan brand and the Michi-
Rec Sport's struggle to keep up with stu-
dents' interests is especially surprising given
the University's storied history of recreational
In 1913, the University was first in the
nation to create a formal department for recre-
ation on a college campus. Fifteen years later, it
built the IMSB, the first dedicated intramural
facility in the country. Then-Athletic Direc-
tor Fielding Yost stressed the importance of
access to athletics for all, using the mantra
"sound mind, sound body."
The mantra isn't located on any mission
statements today, but still rings true in the
offices of recreational sports. Constant efforts
are made bythe departmentto engage, encour-
age and build excitement around fitness, exer-
cise and wellness in the student body.
"We're changing," Widen said. "We're add-
ing new programs. The programsthat we have
are very popular, more than ever here at Mich-
igan, so there's a lot of good energy going on.
But that means the bar's being raised by our
In 2014, many feel that the bar simply isn't
In many senses of the word, the University's
Recreational Sports is out of shape. While nine
Big Ten schools made Men's Fitness' most
recent "Top 25 fittest colleges" list (includ-
ing Michigan State University ranked at third
and The Ohio State University ranked first),
the University hasn't made the cut in the four
years that data has been collected.
A look at Ohio State's facilities provides a
glimpse into what the University can be. The
campus features five fitness buildings within
the confines of campus, with its central loca-
tion amassing more than 500,000 square feet
(compared to the CCRB's 145,000) and has
been cited by numerous publications as one of
the nation's best.
All facilities feature lounges and leisure
activities to help students relax and de-stress
while improving their physical health. Addi-
tionally, Ohio State has dedicated itself to pro-
viding for its students - from free fitness tests
to an open forum for voicing comments about
This all came tobe in recentyears not from
long battles with the University's Board of
Regents or tuition increases like Wilden and
his department are facing, but from dozens of
donors and sponsors who saw the benefits of
sound mind, sound body.
"Right now, a lot of the newer recreation
buildings in the Big Ten and across the coun-
try have formed into this social opportunity
on campus," Widen said. "It's not just a place to
work out anymore. Looking at our three facili-
ties, we don't really have that. We have a few
couches, but that's not very welcoming.
"We want health and wellness and fitness to
be a part of students' lives, so we need our cen-
ters to be comfortable, welcoming and a place
where people want to go, not just a destination
people only go to for working out."
The spectacle down in Columbus is still
largely a pipe dream for University students.
New facilities are two years away, and the ren-
ovations of the NCRB and CCRBhave yet to be
officially designed, budgeted or approved.
University students likely won't make the
four-hour commute to Columbus to work
out anytime soon, but does Michigan need to
worry about competition? According to Koth-
bauer, they should.
"I've definitely considered other gyms and
would consider other ones too," Kothbauer
said. "I don't have a car, so the CCRB is still
my best option, but a lot of these gyms are just
nicer to work out in."
Transportation has prevented Kothbauer
from going elsewhere, but some have made the
The Och Fitness Center, located in the base-
ment of the Ross School of Business, offers
memberships to students, limited guests, fac-
ulty and staff of Michigan's business and law
schools for $30 a month. It's not for everyone,
but Och sees plenty of business from students
despite the fee.
mon as far as I can tell," said Business junior .
Ian Forman, who's had a membership since he
was a pre-admit. "Part of it is for convenience
since your classes are in the same building, but
it's also really nice and well taken care of. In
my experience it's well worth the money."
Widen said he hates to see his facilities not
providing for its students, but he also can't
blame them for leaving.
"A lot of what causes that is facilities and
equipment," Widen said. "We have not kept
our equipment up to the national standard or
even to the area standard. The way things are
now if you want the top-of-the-line treadmills
you have to go somewhere else."
The CCRB is still nearly six years away
from renovations, but efforts are being made
to keep up now. New equipment will arrive to
the CCRB in the winter semester, extended
hours and social media presence are hoping
to engage students to work out and new group
exercise classes have begun this fall. It's no
cure-all, but their hope is the little things and
dedication can eventually save the day.
"If you look at recreational sports across
the country, we may have been the last school
to start a group exercise program, which you
never want to say when you're at Michigan,"
Widen said. "But we wanted to give students
that experience and we're continuing to try
things out and catch up."
Other options are sprouting up, and the
students Rec Sports have spent nearly a cen-
tury catering to are slowly walking away. The
migration is slow for now, but can the CCRB
"The bar's been raised," Widen said. "We
can't justsit back and let things be what they've
always been. We've got to do our part to meet
that bar and those raised expectations."
THE THOUGHT BUBBLE
Kim Kardashian's #Break-
theinternet campaign is just
e latest evidence of soci-
ety's serious obsession with bigbutts.
I mean, don't act like you haven't
noticed. It's funny to think that just a
the idea ILLUSTRAT1O
of a full-
er female body is back. Think about
it, there are TV shows like "The
Mindy Project" and "Fargo" featur-
ing leading ladies like Mindy Kaling
and Allison Tolman who embody the
idea of a real woman in more ways
than one. Singer Meghan Trainor is
trying to bring "booty back" with her
song, "All About That Bass.' Today,
across runways "plus-size" models
are making a statement, not to men-
tion brands like Dove are featuring
real women in their commercials
and marketing campaigns. So, all in
all, it would appear that society is
heading in the right direction, right?
But is it really? Big boobs, big
butt, tiny waist - it's not exactly the
easiest body type to obtain. It doesn't
matter how many X-rays Mrs. West
sits on, there is no way her butt
is real, and I'm calling bullshit on
the champagne glass balancing
act she had
going on in
Azalea - it
seems like a
to have an
extra 20 lbs
of fat on their
JLo, I under-
N BY MAGGIt MIUEttyou are the
Jenny from the block, but you are
42 years old and the "Booty" action
you had going on in your latest video
So why the obsession all of the
sudden? Society is holding women
up to artificial and unfair standards.
Be a size 0 if you want, be a size 12 if
you want,but don't for asecond think
the "correct" way to look includes a
butt the size of a Thanksgiving tur-
key. Ah, 2014, a year of such prog-
ress - the iPhone 6, a baby Gosling,
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt finally
married - but also such regression,
the year of the butt, the overwhelm-
ing obsession with a woman's ass.
Jeremy: "My favorite memory of her was in high school... She went to go buy me lunch.
She was wearing a summer dress. She did this turn, and the look on her face - it made
my heart drop. It was so beautiful."
Emily: "And I think he's silly."
Jeremy: "I'm very silly."
-EMILY LASKE, LSA JUNIOR, AND JEREMY SCHIEL, BUSINESS JUNIOR
I LOVE- THE
P VPUP TUATat" W HAT 7 b0,youEVEN
BY ANDREW FULLER