On the far edge of the Pierce College Puyallup campus sits the Health Education Center. This building has become a center for some new student government goals.
Student government leaders have made it their goal to increase students’ use of the HEC by making it more accessible. But to make this resource more useful, student government leaders first had to know what generally stops students from using the HEC.
In order to find out, Austin Shaffer, ASPCP executive director of operations, created a survey and polled students. Polling was done by students signing up to take the survey, and by members of the student government asking random students to take it. In order to get an accurate poll, the surveyors went to different buildingson campus throughout the day.
Students were asked five questions. Student government officers first had to verify that sample subjects were Pierce students and at least 18 years old. Then, subjects were asked basic questions involving if they knew about the HEC, used it, liked it, what they wanted improved and whether they used an outside gym.
Of the 103 students surveyed, some answers were common. Many students find it a hassle to go between the cashier’s office in the administration building and HEC staff for a membership or they don’t want to pay the fee.
Others said the HEC’s open hours were not long enough, they didn’t even know that the gym on campus exists or they aren’t interested in working out.
Similarly, a portion of students answered they don’t have time to use the HEC or they choose to elsewhere. Part of the problem, according to student leaders, may be that students feel the gym needs improvements in the form of such additions as a pool, larger locker rooms or other kinds of equipment.
While each of these answers drew the attention of the student government, the main issue they want to fix involves the fee of using the HEC per quarter. Currently, students must pay $15 per quarter to have access to the gym.
“I’ve had conversations with students about what we can do to make the HEC more accessible, and they say it would be convenient to have it (added to the cost) of tuition,” Shaffer said.
Instead of student government officers looking at incorporating the gym fee into the quarterly student fee charge, students pay when registering for classes. By the leaders’ estimate, this would add a $3 charge per quarter per student, and all students would have access to the gym. the $15 payment would no longer exist.
The key in executing this plan is ensuring that make the HEC will continue to make the same amount of money in order to keep the building running and staffed.
In addition, the other major factor in changing how students can use the HEC relies on districtwide cooperation.
“If we make those changes, which we’re just really exploring right now to see what the students want and what we can do, any changes we make to the HEC will be districtwide,” Shaffer said. “The athletics department has made an effort to make sure things are consistent and so we’re talking to Fort Steilacoom to get opinions from there as well.”
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