UMSL Recreation and Wellness Center debuts new app, encourages students to get involved

by | Sep 6, 2022

The new UMSL Campus Rec app will make it easier for students to take advantage of programming at the RWC such as group fitness classes, personal training and special events.
three men on eliptical machines workout at the recreation and wellness center

Staff members at the University of Missouri–St. Louis Recreation and Wellness Center worked over the summer to launch a new app for students, as well as other RWC members, and update the center’s software system. The new UMSL Campus Rec app will make it much easier to take advantage of the broad range of programming at the RWC. (Photo by August Jennewein)

As the fall semester gets under way, it will be easier than ever for University of Missouri–St. Louis students to take advantage of what the Recreation and Wellness Center has to offer.

Emily Davidson, associate director of the RWC, said staff members worked over the summer to launch a new app for students, as well as other RWC members, and update the center’s software system.

The app, UMSL Campus Rec, is currently available to download through Apple and Google app stores.

“Essentially, it’s a much more user-friendly version of what we had before,” Davidson said. “So, they’re able to check into the building with it, register for group fitness classes, reserve a lap lane in the pool, purchase a program or service through it. There’s an announcement feature on it.”

The RWC’s old system was one of the forerunners of campus recreation management software and had become antiquated, so the staff decided to upgrade to Rec Automation, an integrated campus recreation platform that aims to make rec facilities “the hub of campus life.”

Davidson and Katie Haarmann Coffman, coordinator of marketing, communications, and special events, said the app will make it much easier to take advantage of the broad range of programming at the RWC, particularly group fitness classes.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Davidson said of the classes. “I like to say it’s a low stress environment. You’re in one of our group fitness studios with a smaller group of people and an instructor that’s teaching you what to do. It is a little bit more of a comfortable space to start and meet some other people that are likeminded, as well.”

The sessions include a variety of activities including barre, high intensity interval training, yoga and Zumba. Davidson added that all group fitness classes are included in student memberships, so there are no additional costs to sign up. They run weekly for the whole semester, and schedules can be found on the RWC’s website.

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the RWC worked diligently to adapt and provide digital options for members. However, this semester, most programming will be in-person, though virtual and hybrid personal training is available.

Davidson noted that personal training – in-person or virtual – is tailored to individuals’ fitness goals. Based on an initial survey about those goals, the RWC matches members with a certified personal trainer. The program is fee-based, although students get the lowest rate, and members can choose from packages that include one, five, 10 or 20 sessions.

In addition to group fitness classes and personal training, intramural sports also provide opportunities for students to get involved on campus.

“Our intramural sports are not necessarily about competing, but more about teamwork and making friends and building a connection,” Davidson said.

The season starts with outdoor soccer and floor hockey, which begin next week. Before fall break, the RWC will host a doubles badminton tournament on Oct. 17 and a dodgeball tournament on Oct. 18. The semester will conclude with volleyball and basketball toward the end of October.

Aside from the regular programming, the RWC is hosting a slate of special events and programs.

Coffman said the center is partnering with Tiny Tritons to put on the Triton Family Kickoff from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The RWC will welcome members of the UMSL community to enjoy crafts, free food, games and raffles. Family nights will run the second Friday of each month during the fall, as well.

For those looking to test their strength, there will be a power lifting event on Oct. 8. Participants will compete in three events: bench press, deadlift and squat.

“That’s always a good one,” Coffman said. “That’s had a good turnout the last few times we’ve had it.”

Coffman is particularly excited about the RWC’s new “Couch to 5K” program, which it is running in cooperation with the UMSL Alumni 5K Run & Walk.

“If you register for our couch to 5K program, you’re eligible to be entered to participate in the alumni 5K,” she said. “Our program will be run by Dominica Rooks, who’s a track athlete as well as one of our personal trainers. She’ll run through a course for a few weeks, prepping people for a 5K.”

The program starts Wednesday and will run every Wednesday from 4 to 5 p.m. until Oct. 12.

While there are many activities for the athletically inclined, Davidson explained that the RWC is not just for working out. The facility is also a place to meet other students and build community. She highlighted the study areas available on the main floor and noted that board games, coloring books, origami paper and puzzles are available to check out at the front desk.

No matter whether students prefer Scrabble or squats, they can take a break at the RWC to help their mental health and reduce burnout.

“It’s something they should utilize,” Davidson said. “While they’re in classes and working on academic stuff, this allows them to balance that with their health and wellness and stress relief and mitigation.”

Students looking to find a new hobby, improve their fitness or meet new people on campus can stop by anytime during operation hours for a tour.

“We have a lot of options here,” Coffman said. “Finding what works best, you just have to come in and try it. You just have to check it out.”

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