Recently, Canada was ranked second in health out of the 34 OECD countries on the happiness index. During our recent visit there, we saw many people out for a walk or biking which is a bit different from Korea. It is easy to notice that universities in Canada also emphasize healthy lifestyles because there are recreation centers at universities in Canada. Canadian students can develop their physical strength and take part in self improvement. During this summer vacation, The Observer visited three recreation centers at universities in British Columbia, Canada.
University students’ lack of exercise
In 2008, 1,654 Korean university students participated in a survey that dealt with their leisure activity habits. 58.8% of the students surveyed responded that they liked sports more than other activities such as watching movies, listening to music, reading books, or club activities. However, even though most of these students said they liked sports, only 7.1% of them participated in sports as leisure activities. It is possible that recreation centers on university campuses would allow more students to enjoy sports.
Recreation centers in Korea
In Korea, the University of Ulsan, the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Kyungpook National University, Daegu University and Namseoul University operate recreation centers. We looked at the centers operated at Kyungpook National University and Daegu University. The name of the recreation center at Kyungpook National University is the Sports Promotion Center. The Sports Promotion Center was built with funds from KSPO(Korea Sports Promotion Foundation) at a cost of about 3 billion won. It is operated by student fees and not by government support or tuition. The Sports Promotion Center operates all sports facilities. There is a stadium, a baseball field, three basketball courts, three volleyball courts, a gym, a swimming pool, a golf course, and a fitness center which covers 561 square meters. Students can receive instruction in swimming, weight training, spinning bikes, golf, tennis, pilates, and yoga. In addition, students can receive counseling through customized sports programs. At Daegu University, there is the Daegu University Community Center. In this center, there is a swimming pool, a golf course, a fitness center, a classroom, a small theater, and a GX room where students can do yoga and pilates. It operates its facilities only in the center. It is used for the purpose of major classes and required classes. In the center students can learn sports with instructors.
Sports facilities at YU
Yeungnam University has plans to build a recreation center, but there is not enough money so YU has not yet committed to building it. The cost for the center is expected to be 20 billion to 30 billion won. If the center is built, there will be a fitness center, a GX room, a swimming pool, and a golf course. Students, visitors, and citizens in the Gyeongsan area will all be able to use the center.
There are many sports facilities on the YU campus. There is a big playground, 20 tennis courts, a baseball stadium, and three soccer fields. In the big playground, there is Chunma Gym, a soccer field, 6 basketball courts, 2 volleyball courts, and 1 futsal court. Operation hours at the Chunma Gym are from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on holidays. At Chunma Gym, there is a fitness center, 5 basketball courts, 6 badminton courts, 1 handball court and 1 volleyball post. The weight room in the gym is usually used by liberal arts majors. The university staff and students can use the gym for free. However, Chunma Gym is used for regular classes, sports training programs and school events which often prevents general students from using the gym.
In April 2011, a program called “Sport for All Classes” started. In Sports for All Classes, there is fitness training, tennis class, basketball class, baseball class, and golf class. Fitness training is a program that allows ordinary students to use the fitness center in Chunma Gymnasium. The fee for fitness training is 10,000 won a month which is refunded if the student’s attendance rate is over 80%. Fitness training accepts 60 participants every month during the second semester, and 240 people have participated in this program to date. The fitness center is 132 square meters, so there is a limit to how many students can use it at one time. Tennis courts are located between the College of Design and Arts and the College of Music. Ordinary students can use them for free, but tennis racquets are not available for rental. Tennis class opens 4 times a week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On each of these days, students can receive tennis training for about 20 minutes. It costs 120,000 won for one month. Basketball class is for elementary school students to high school students, but not for university students. Baseball class opens at 6 pm and is operated on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The cost is 100,000 won for one month.
There is an artificial turf soccer field and a natural grass soccer field. In order to use these soccer fields, students have to go through an application process. It is easy to see that there are many sports facilities on the YU campus, but most of them are used primarily for classes and special events. Also, there are some sports classes at YU, but student participation is lacking and many students are not aware of them.
The recreation center of UBC
The University of British Columbia is a public university in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. There is a Vancouver campus and an Okanagan campus. We visited the Vancouver campus. On the Vancouver Campus, there are 36,630 undergraduate students and 8,352 graduate students.
The recreation center at UBC runs various instructional programs for students. First, the recreation center has a “drop-in” policy that allows students, staff, and faculty to just drop-in and participate in sports like basketball, badminton, futsal, and volleyball free of charge seven days a week. There are also martial arts classes such as judo, Iaido, advanced judo, kung fu, aikido, kobudo, ju jitsu, and karate. Other fitness and meditation programs like yoga, pilates, and tai chi are also available. There is also dance instruction such as Latin funk, salsa dance, hip-hop, tango, burlesque, and ballet. UBC also runs many outdoor recreation programs. UBC is located nearby the coast, so there are many water-based programs like stand up paddle surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, and whale watching. There is also rock climbing, skydiving, and bungee jumping. Moreover, the recreation center at UBC runs many events such as “the Day of the Longboat,” and “Storm the Wall.” The Day of the Longboat is a signature event at UBC. 3000 people paddle through the ocean in the largest canoe race of its kind. Storm the Wall is the longest standing campus tradition at UBC. 4 members per team swim 225 yards, sprint 450 meters, bike 2.8 km, run 1 km and try to jump over the high wall. At UBC, students run programs for fellow students. During the school year UBC has 130 student volunteers to help run these programs. Therefore, Storm the Wall and the Day of the Longboat is operated by students and not by full-time staff.
Birdcoop Fitness Center has various exercise equipment like treadmills. Students can use all of the exercise equipment for 25 dollars a semester. They can also receive personal training. The personal trainers help students begin exercise programs, and give them advice on how to control their diet. They also advise students on what exercise and sports best match them. In addition, there is spinning where students follow the trainer’s motions while cycling. On average over the course of a year, about 10,000 students pass through drop-in sports at the recreation center. Including use of the Birdcoop fitness center, about 20,000 students make use of the recreation center.
Aaron Miu, Marketing Coordinator
Q) There is no recreation center at our university, what do you think of that?
A) UBC has a long history of providing programs for its students. At one time, there was no recreation center at UBC so we could not make programs. Building a recreation center was a big focal point for a lot of intramural activities. Having a building gives us freedom to offer more programs. Also, the recreation center has offices so we are able to grow. I think that it is important to have a space that can contribute to and encourage activity within a university. I would like to see recreation centers open at all universities in Korea, but I know it does not happen over the night.
Q) Do you think universities need recreation centers?
A) The choices many students have for what to do after class are often limited to going out and having fun with friends, and going for lunch or dinner. Having a recreation center opens another option for students to do something different. You can play soccer, play basketball, or play badminton with your friends. It creates a hub of activities where everyone can get together. Even though students have to pay, it is worthwhile and anyone who makes use of the facilities will see their worth.
The recreation center of SFU
Simon Fraser University is a public university located in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. There are 3 campuses located in Burnaby, Surrey, and Vancouver. The recreation center here was built to promote healthy and active living to students, faculty, and staff. The slogan at SFU’s recreation center is “It’s for everyone.” This university is public, so their budget comes from the state and federal government every year. A part of the budget was spent on SFU’s recreation center. SFU has unique recreation programs. One of them is “Camps.” This is held in spring, summer, and winter every year and it is very popular. It provides leadership training to high school and university students. “Masters Swim” is also one of SFU’s unique programs. It allows participants to receive feedback from a swim coach. “Free Services” runs “Ask a Trainer” and “Ask a Nutritionist,” which allow students to ask questions and receive advice free of charge. Questions are answered and posted in the fitness center. We examined the features of each campus. Burnaby is the main campus where about 23,000 students attend. Among these students, 13,738 students are members of the recreation center. This center’s unique feature is that it has many facilities such as a fitness center, three gymnasiums, four fields, a swimming pool, and racquet courts. The Surrey campus has 2,251 recreation center members. This campus has a partnership with the city of Surrey parks and recreation, so SFU students can use the city’s recreation facilities as well. Finally, there is the Vancouver campus. There are 340 recreation center members. This campus also has an arrangement with the city of Vancouver that allows SFU students to use the city’s recreation facilities. SFU students pay $65.65 per semester through their tuition in order to have access to these facilities while the general public pays $146.72 per year.
Sue Armitage, Recreation Manager
Q) What is the most popular program among the students these days? Why?
A) Some of our top programs are: badminton, using the fitness center, yoga, and drop-in basketball. Moreover, our campus is located near the mountain, so mountain biking is also popular.
Q) Can students participate in club activities together in the recreation center?
A) Yes. We have a large number of student-led sports clubs including tennis, badminton, rugby, rowing, and cheerleading. Q) We would like to know more about the “counseling program” at the SFU recreation center.
A) The SFU recreation center comes under the larger umbrella of student services. We partner with other areas of student services, such as Health & Counseling Services, to provide a range of programs for students. These programs are created to help students maintain balance in their life and to remain healthy while they attend the university.
Q) Is SFU planning other programs?
A) The SFU recreation center is always looking to offer new programs. For the most part, however, we continue to provide services in 4 main areas: fitness, intramurals & sports, aquatics, and instructional programs.
Q) What does the recreation center mean to SFU?
A) Our recreation center is a very important part of student life and an integral part of the University. Our center is a place where students can meet new people, begin or maintain healthy and active habits, get involved in extra-curricular activities, and enhance their overall university experience.
The recreation center of University of Victoria (Uvic)
The University of Victoria is located in Victoria, British Columbia. “Uvic”, along with UBC and SFU, is among the most famous universities in Canada. 18,000 students attend Uvic. It has a recreation center named “Vikes Recreation.” Its motto is “Education through Recreation.”
There are two recreation centers; one on campus and the other off campus. The off campus recreation center is located near by the campus. The McKinnon Building (McK) is the name of the on campus recreation center. "McK" has a gymnasium and an exercise room that provides rowing ergometers, stair climbers, stationary bicycles and other exercise equipment. The Swartz Complex (ISC) is the name of the off campus recreation center. It has a field house, a fitness/weight center, a dance studio, an ice rink, an outdoor pool, a gymnasium, and a court where students can play sand volleyball, racquetball, squash and badminton.
Intramural activities provide students with the opportunity to participate in team and individual activities through a variety of leagues and tournaments. The program is operated by Vikes recreation student employees whose intent is to provide activity opportunities and enjoyment to their fellow students. In addition to sports, there are many programs that allow students to enjoy events and exercise as spectators. It is a program that allows students to enjoy their favorite sports and meet new people.
12,000 students use the Vikes Recreation center weekly. Students can use all facilities and programs at a 50% discount. The budget for Vikes Recreation is taken from student tuition, as well as membership and program fees. On June 30th, 2011, the University of Victoria’s Board of Governors approved funding for the construction of the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities and the renovation of the McKinnon Building. This project includes a performance gymnasium, field house and a state-of-the-art fitness and weight-training space. It is expected that opening the new building will take about three years and will cost 58,000,000 Canadian dollars.
Don Chow, Manager of Vikes Recreation
Q) What is the most popular program among students?
A) The most popular program is the fitness program. The total number of recreation centre users is 12,000, and the fitness program has 7,000 members.
Q) There are not many recreation centers at universities in Korea. What do you think about this?
A) Korea and Canada are different. As far as I know, Korean students and parents are focused primarily on academics. Canadians are interested in keeping their body healthy and getting on with people as well as studying. Therefore, we are a little different, but as the manager of the recreation center I think recreation is important and necessary for students to get everything they can out of their university experience.
Q) What is the meaning of “Education through Recreation?”
A) Recreation helps students maintain their health, so it has a good effect on students learning ability. Students can make new friends and become close through recreation activities.
Through these Canadian universities, we can realize that there is a wider range of exercise activities executed through various programs in their recreation centers. Moreover, many students who are stressed out are able to recharge themselves by making use of these facilities. University students in Korea don’t exercise enough. Therefore, universities should build recreation centers on campus and develop various programs that get students moving. Students would have the opportunity to be active and enjoy exercise. Universities should also realize that exercise improves quality of life and will not just improve our bodies, but our state of mind as well.
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