Throughout the Fall 2017 Semester, I created a media kit for a client of my choice in my Public Relations Communication class. My client was The Southern Brewing Company. The Southern Brewing Co. is an Athens, Georgia brewery that is fairly new and competing with older, well-known breweries such as Terrapin and Creature Comforts. My goal for this media kit was to highlight the brewery among the Athens community and promote their annual Holiday party – Hootenanny. Please click the link and download the document to see the finished media kit.
At UGA’s Ramsey Student Center, a girl in a pale blue sorority t-shirt and Nike shorts powers through her elliptical workout while actively wiping the sweat away from her forehead. Her eyes light up with determination during the last 10 minutes of her workout. The girl leaves the area once her workout is completed, with an extra bounce in her step. Spending time in the gym may not only increase your level of health, but also your GPA, researchers say.
“Researchers at North Carolina State University, looked at 20,000 students’ recreational activities during the 2013-14 school year. For every extra hour that students exercised, their odds of graduating (or returning the following year) increased by 50 percent,” according to researcher Dr. Heather Sanderson.
Sanderson’s research is currently in production for journal publication.
Sanderson, associate director of university sports at North Carolina State University, also examined students’ standardized test scores when gathering this data.
Sanderson and her colleagues observed students’ GPA and SAT scores, so that they could rule out any inconsistencies among the students. Smarter people tend to work out more, so the North Carolina State researchers wanted to factor this into their study.
For those who don’t love the idea of exercise, even a little can go a long way.
Sanderson’s research states, “Even in small amounts, exercise can help: for every one-hour increase in weekly physical activities, researchers found, students’ GPAs increased by 0.06.”
Chelsea Watson, graduate assistant for competitive sports at UGA, says the university encourages students to take advantage of the recreation activities offered in order to reap the benefits from exercise.
UGA Competitive sports utilizes their social media as a way to encourage students to exercise and get involved with sports on campus.
These methods seem to be working because according to Watson, student participation has been high.
Intramural sports have seen a range of 8,600 to 9,300 participants over the past five years. In addition, club sports have seen as many as 2,000 participants.
“Campus recreation facilities provide students an environment of positive student interaction and are a likely contributor to student success,” according to researchers from a Midwestern university.
The usage of recreation facilities at students’ colleges had a positive effect on students’ academic success, according to researchers at a separate Midwestern university.
One student can vouch for this fact and relate it back to her own story.
Seeing it in action
Sophomore Alex Wilhelm was an active soccer player in high school, but chose not to follow the athlete path in college. Instead, Alex’s amount of daily exercise continued to decrease over the months during her time at the University of Mississippi.
“I was miserable at Ole Miss. I was going through a really tough time, and I just didn’t want to work out. My grades were also pretty bad.”
Once Alex decided to transfer to UGA, everything turned around. Alex began using the elliptical and running almost every day during the week, and her grades increased along with her amount of exercise.
“I was just so happy to finally be in Athens. I started to work out again, and now I work out whenever I can. I’m also on the intramural indoor soccer team for my sorority.”
Graduate assistant, Jamie Diaz, works as a ceramics instructor for UGA’s Lamar Dodd School of Art and teaches Alex in one of her classes. Diaz’s students don’t directly tell her whether or not they work out, but she sees how exercise can be beneficial to students’ GPAs.
“I kind of wish I did it more as an undergrad,” says Diaz.
GPA isn’t the only factor that stands to benefit from exercise. Sanderson is also researching the effects of exercise on students’ mental health.
“One of the biggest challenges right now that students are facing are issues with mental health and emotional well being. So things like stress, anxiety and depression. So our colleagues in exercise psychology, one of them, a big one, is at the University of Georgia. And they do control studies on exercise and cognition and exercise and mental health.”
A study conducted by Alexandra Henchy in 2011 polled students to see how campus recreation activities affected the quality of student life.
“48% of students felt their stress management has strongly or moderately improved from participating in campus recreation activities,” according to the study.
By Brenna Bobinski and Janie Bohlmann
Ramsey Student Center is facing competition from local gyms that offer conveniences in services and options for UGA students.
Ramsey Student Center, built 20 years ago, has the benefit of an on-campus location, free parking in the deck after 4 p.m. and the option of using an array of recreational activity spaces, yet some students can be found at gyms like Crunch Fitness and The Omni Club.
For many students, free parking is a big draw towards switching their memberships to other gyms.
Virginia Settles, a junior at UGA who pulled into one of the first parking spaces outside of Crunch Fitness, cited the need for a parking pass or to pay the deck fees as two of her biggest drawbacks from Ramsey.
“You have to pay to park there if you go there before 4 p.m., or ride a bus,” said junior Emily Horne.
Parking lots at Crunch and Omni have ample spaces to provide for the crowd sizes they attract. The availability of parking at these gyms allows students to work out anytime of the day rather than avoiding peak hours, like they would do at Ramsey, where parking could be difficult to find.
Crunch and Omni also offer a wide variety of benefits from flexible fitness schedules, different equipment, saunas and tanning beds.
Freshman Hannah Morris’s membership at Crunch includes classes, something she would have had to bought a special pass for at Ramsey.
At Omni, sophomore Carly Griffies likes having access to the sauna and separate sections with equipment for women. She claims that these features make the gym less crowded, a problem that influenced her switch from Ramsey.
“I lift more than I do cardio and [Omni] has a lot more machines for that,” said junior Kaitlyn Timblin.
Popularity of gyms is a bonus for students who want the ability to work out with friends while feeling comfortable at their gym. Senior Courtney Koenig explained that she initially switched to The Omni Club four years ago because it was the best gym in Athens and she knew people who were members.
Many students are refusing to switch and remain loyal to Ramsey.
“It’s a great facility, you’ve got pretty much anything you might need: machines for cardio, all kinds of weights, and it’s convenient on campus,” said Carter Maguire, a senior who doesn’t see his membership changing any time before graduation.
Fitness classes might be a draw to other gyms, but Ramsey also offers the ability to purchase different passes in order to participate in classes such as yoga, Zumba, cycling and a variety of others.
“I wanted to go to classes throughout the week, so I bought it when it was on sale [during the first week of the semester],” said junior Megan Graham.
Sophomore Luis Mata hasn’t considered switching his membership and had no complaints about Ramsey.
“There are a diverse set of gyms at Ramsey, a lot of variety to choose how you workout and a good atmosphere,” says Mata.
Pros and Cons of Ramsey Versus Local Gyms
Students are attending gyms both on and off campus.
“Parking is number one.” – Senior Courtney Koenig, Omni member
“I lift more than I do cardio and they [The Omni Club] have a lot more machines for that.” – Junior Kaitlyn Timblin, Omni member
“I wish that [the parking deck] opened earlier so that I could come here any time.” -Junior Megan Graham, Ramsey member
“I don’t like the setup of it [Ramsey].” -Sophomore Samantha Scheinin, Omni member
“I like the sauna, and there’s, like, a separate women’s section that I like, and it’s just not crowded most of the time.”- Sophomore Carly Griffies, Omni member
“The parking fees and not being able to have a parking pass for over there.” -Junior Virginia Settles, Crunch member
“All I needed was machines to work out with and then it was cheap, so it was the best option.”-Junior Emily Horne, Crunch member
“I just finished Omni, so I just wanted something cheap for the rest of my couple months.” -Senior Emily Swift, Crunch member
“[Other gyms] are not as convenient” -Senior Carter Maguire, Ramsey member
Hannah Morris – Crunch
Luis Mata – Ramsey
Megan Graham – Ramsey
At 4 p.m. on any weekday, students rush into the Ramsey Student Center to hop on a machine as they try to beat the rapidly growing crowd of students.
Construction for Ramsey was completed in 1995. According to UGA’s website, Ramsey is made up of three gyms, three pools, an 1/8 mile rubberized track, a 44 feet high rock climbing wall, 14-foot outdoor bouldering wall, 10 racquetball courts, two squash courts, bicycle repair stands, eight full-length basketball courts, and 19,000 square feet of training space.
“Ramsey has more equipment and classes than students even know about,” says Facility Operations Staff Member, Shelby McCaskill. “It’s a great facility because it offers so much.”
Originally named the Student Physical Activities Center upon opening, the facility was renamed in February 1996 for benefactors Bernard B. and Eugenia A. Ramsey.
Ramsey is an exceptional facility, and Sports Illustrated ranked it as the best recreational center in 2002, according to an Online Athens article.
On Sept. 18, 2015, Ramsey turned 20 years old. According to the Red and Black, Ramsey underwent renovations in the main lobby, the Strength and Conditioning 1 room, the Gym Central hallway, the Spectator Lobby and also gained the outdoor challenge course in honor of this birthday.
Ramsey has become a popular spot for UGA students with the recent renovations; however, it still has its problems just like any other facility. The parking deck near Ramsey is not free to park at until 4 p.m., so students arrive all at once when the clock strikes five.
“Once it’s four, Ramsey is jam packed. People have to wait to use machines,” says McCaskill. “It’s definitely calmer during the day, but it’s still busy.”
About 4,808 people visit Ramsey per day. The majority of these visitors are students, but about 9% of the university’s faculty and staff benefit from the facility as well, according to an UGA article.
Ramsey also offers 109 fitness classes for those who can’t find a machine during the busy hours or would just like to try something different.