I have a question for the 2016-2017 McMaster Students Union Board of Directors: how much time did any of them spend in the Pulse?
Shockingly, adding a gym fee to everyone’s student fees means that more people are actually going to go to the gym. The spacing problems associated with this would be evident to anyone who has ever walked past the Pulse sign-in desk.
The Pulse is always packed at 6 a.m. when I go. It is packed at 11:30 a.m. when our Arts & Culture Editor goes. It is packed at 6 p.m. when our Photo Reporter goes. No matter when you try to squeeze in a workout, you’re squeezed in with more bodies than you thought could occupy the treadmills, deadlift platforms or studio.
I could spend my word count rehashing the gripes of anyone who has spent time at the Pulse this year, but it’s really just the most current example of a larger issue on campus.
There is a trend among cohorts of the board that they undertake a large project they will likely not see to completion. We saw it in the 2014-2015 academic year when Teddy Saull’s “Perspectives on Peace” gesture was launched in March 2015 only to seemingly fizzle out after his term.
We saw it when the 2015-2016 board, spearheaded by Ehima Osazuwa, advocated for the implementation of all-genders washrooms. This has only begun to come together as of this fall, which is over a year since he left office.
And we saw it with the 2016-2017 board, who pushed for the Student Activity Building without having to consider the growing pains-style consequences of that referendum’s details.
Burnout is an easy feeling to understand, and this is especially true for university students. I can understand why, after a tiring year, the board would desire to leave a legacy at the institution they’ve worked hard to change. But to students, this can be interpreted as pursuing vanity projects on their dime.
As someone who has struggled with elements of the gym for a long time, I appreciate the previous board’s intention to make the Pulse a more inclusive environment. But the increased crowds no matter what time you go, unless you’re one of the few who make use of their extended weeknight hours, does nothing to quell those negative feelings.
The slight animosity towards those impeding on your personal space at the gym is a horrible feeling, especially when it’s probable that they are working out before dawn to avoid crowds, just like you. Given that first years will not see the opening of the Student Activity Building until the latter part of their third year, promising increased space three years from now is of little comfort to most of the student body.
The quick-fix pop-up Pulse, set to open in one of the auxiliary gyms after the fall reading week, may make me eat my words. Frankly, I doubt it. Even if it is successful in diverting some traffic, it will stand that last year’s board never worked out how you’re going to work out for the foreseeable future.