When the Coronavirus shut down Utah State University’s on-campus activities in spring, departments were left scrambling trying to find the best way to serve students. When the Aggie Recreation Center closed, it was a blow to many students who found stress relief, both from the pandemic and their studies, in exercise.
Knowing the vital role the ARC, and Campus Rec as a whole, play in the life of many students, Daniel Lawrence, USU’s Campus Recreation director, and his team, got to work on an at-home fitness program.
“We had the staffing, we had the capabilities, but getting access to what we needed to — with Campus Rec being locked down, there was a lot of up-in-the-air,” Lawrence said. “Once we ironed out all the details and understood that we still had access to our facility, we jumped right on it. Our marketing and fitness and wellness teams had the first at home workout videos up within a week or two of campus closing down.”
The videos highlight specific workouts that can be done at home with little to no equipment and feature Campus Rec staff walking through each step. Lawrence said the response from not only students, but faculty and staff as well, has been overwhelmingly positive. And while the “Fitness at Home” program is a direct result of COVID-19, it’s something Lawrence had been wanting to implement for a long time and something he’s excited to build upon, even when facilities open up and students return to campus.
“We’ve always talked about taking on programs remotely, but we’ve never been able to find the time to do it,” Lawrence said. “At the end of the day, the product is a direct result of COVID-19, but again, moving forward we hope to be able to continue to offer it and make it more available to our Statewide Campuses as well.”
Along with growing the “Fitness at Home” program, Lawrence said its implementation has also opened up more conversations about how to better serve the masses of Utah State’s population. Specifically, what opportunities exist to use technology and the digital space to connect intramurals and club sports across USU’s Statewide Campus system.
While bigger and better things may be in the future, Lawrence said he and his team have identified 32 different programs and services that could foreseeably include an online virtual component for the “Fitness at Home” program.
“USU students, faculty and staff have really appreciated this virtual program,” Lawrence said. “There’s an at-home feel by seeing fellow Aggie fitness instructors and personal trainers.”