Getting Fit at Rutgers-Camden

Can a new fitness center kick-start Rutgers-Camden’s push for more on-campus residents?

When I was a graduate student at Rutgers-Camden, I used the gym once. It was a dingy, musty place with ancient machines that invited comparisons with a torture chamber.

No more. This year, Rutgers-Camden re-opened its fitness center after a $12 million renovation. The dank and dreary is gone. Instead, the gym now includes a floor of cardio machines, weight rooms, Pilates and yoga spaces, spin-class equipment, and a resistance pool.

Rutgers-Camden students led the charge to improve the gym. They took Rutgers president Richard L. McCormick on a tour of the old facility. That was enough to put the gears in motion.

The new fitness center fits in with Rutgers-Camden’s goal of having more students live on or near campus. Spokesperson Mike Sepanic says it’s also a valuable recruiting tool for prospective students.

Rutgers-Camden is growing, too, as students and parents look to state schools for bargains, and as the population in South Jersey continues to grow. In fact, on-campus housing is at 115 percent capacity. In October, the school announced plans to build a 350-bed graduate dorm to open in fall 2011.

But that’s down the road. The gym is a small step, but a healthy one, for Rutgers’s southernmost campus.

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