Staying healthy is getting easier – and more affordable – at NIU.
After more than three decades of providing independent programs and services in separate and shared facilities, the College of Education’s FIT Program and University Recreation and Wellness (formerly Campus Recreation) have merged to become FitWell.
The move capitalizes on synergies and expertise from both departments by combining resources, boosting efficiency, streamlining membership processes and reducing confusion caused by two programs.
It also creates engaged learning experiences for students in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, thanks to the University Recreation and Wellness (RecWell) staff who are eager to serve as mentors.
“We hope that we empower and inspire people to pursue a healthy lifestyle,” RecWell Director Sandi Carlisle said. “Our primary reason for merging is to create a unified message to the campus and local community that active participation in health and wellness activities should be a life priority.”
Faculty, staff and community members who join FitWell will enjoy accessible, convenient and versatile offerings and amenities that help create and maintain healthy and happy lifestyles.
Workout facilities include the Student Recreation Center, the Chick Evans Field House, the Outdoor Rec Sports Complex, Anderson Hall Fitness Room and Pool, the Gabel Hall Fitness Room, the New Residence Hall Fitness Room and the Gilbert Hall Fitness Room.
They also will benefit from a highly economical membership fee – with a payroll deduction option – that is less expensive than those charged by other universities or private fitness clubs.
“Although our primary focus is on students, we also serve faculty, staff and community members,” Carlisle said. “We really have not concentrated on these members’ needs enough.”
Chad McEvoy, chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, calls Carlisle’s partnership proposal “a great opportunity for a cross-campus collaboration.”
“Many of our faculty and staff are dealing with challenging financial situations, so we set FitWell prices at a very competitive and affordable level,” McEvoy said. “FitWell represents a way for faculty, staff and community members to improve their fitness and wellness, and to gain the advantage of the programming and facilities have offered separately for one low price.”
The FIT program long has provided outstanding and convenient exercise opportunities along with scientifically based health and fitness education.
FIT also serves the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education through educational experiences for undergraduate and graduate students; that mission will remain intact and expand, McEvoy said. Director Vicky Books will continue to teach in the department while she stays involved with the operation and logistics of FitWell.
NIU students should not experience a negative impact from faculty, staff and community thanks to FitWell’s expanded number of sites and hours of operations, Carlisle said.
“During morning and afternoons, it is not that busy, and we have space for all members to use our facilities. We will monitor use of programs and services, and will respond to any issues that may arise,” she said.
“We typically are not incurring any additional costs by offering these memberships to faculty, staff and the community. As we generate additional revenue through memberships, our hope is to reduce user fees that students pay when they participate in a variety of RecWell programs.”
Campus Recreation members will enjoy the same benefits as before, including a free equipment orientation, a free personal training orientation, a free nutrition consultation and access to group fitness classes.
Meanwhile, the merger provides all members (including students) with access to locker and towel service, as available, without an additional fee.