My first semester at NC State, I found joy in the fact I was able to use the Carmichael Gym without needing to pay for a membership. I was able to make sense of this luxury by concluding my tuition technically covered a membership, which would normally be paid if I were not a student here at NC State.
Carmichael Gym is open to students and the general public. Under “student membership,” it is clearly stated that if you are a full-time student, paying traditional fees, the gym membership is partially covered in your tuition. It makes sense. Upon further inspection, non-fee paying students need to pay for their membership as broken down by the website. Of course, the membership prices will vary for the general public and visitors from colleges nearby, or students taking a couple classes here and there. This is where online courses come in.
This summer is my first one here at NC State. At this time I was completely unaware of the membership rules given. I had walked in, ready to begin my workout — then it hit. My ID did not let me through the gate. I was confused, but the staff was very nice in letting me know if I was enrolled in a summer course, my ID would soon work. I would simply have to show them my class schedule to prove I was enrolled and they would let me in. I took an online course this summer so I could work more hours, as I am unable to do so during a normal semester. I need to work, and having an in-person class almost everyday of the week would limit me substantially. A week passed, and I was hit with more news.
I don’t have free access to the gym because I am not paying for an in-person summer class. Hold on, but I am paying for a class point-blank. Why should it be any different for distance education students if they are physically here and plan to continue as a full-time student in the upcoming semester?
Before I get any backlash, I understand Carmichael and its employees need to make income. I’m here for it. In all honesty, it just doesn’t seem fair for students who are unable to go home, choose to take online classes and need to work to help with living expenses. I’m only taking one summer course for the first half of summer, and planned on paying for the gym for the remainder. I wasn’t opposed to this because it made logical sense to me.
Upon a little research, I noticed other students have felt the confusion and disappointment I experienced. A Reddit post from a year ago shows a thread discussing the reasons why students have to pay a membership during the summer, some I agree with, and shows the situation has been going on for quite some time. I agree with points made in the post regarding the charges for the summer. It’s not bad pricing compared to other gym memberships you can find at local gyms. I also agree with how it seems unfair for full-time students paying various fees during normal semesters, to have to pay for a membership during the summer if they are not taking in-person classes. One comment had me somewhat troubled though. Even graduate students, most likely continuing their education, who are employed during the summer for research still have to pay for the gym.
I wonder if there could be something done in regard to students who are taking online classes during the summer, are still enrolled as full-time for the upcoming semester, and remaining near or on campus to be allowed access to the gym just like our in-person students.
Maybe something along the lines of a discounted offer for students enrolled in online classes, or even some form of acknowledgment through registration stating the student will be physically on or near campus during summer while taking said classes. This option would include the small fee for the gym that we normally see during a full semester. This is simply food for thought.
Life as a college student can be financially stressful, so we need as much help as possible. If we are paying for a higher education, regardless if it is online or in person during the summer, it should not be an issue to have included-access to the gym.