Administration respond to Delegates’ Agenda with upgrades to fitness center, wellness initiatives


Webster University Administration responded to the five Delegates Agenda topics students presented on Sept 25. During the Delegates Agenda response on Oct. 16, the university announced plans to improve the fitness center and create healthier options on campus through Sodexo’s “Mindful Program.”

The university announced any equipment six years or older would be replaced. University Center Director Katie Knetzer said strengthening equipment, dumbbells, medicine balls and mats would all be replaced.

Sophomore Technical Direction major Erick Fields said the change in equipment was needed, but he is more concerned about the lack of room in the fitness center.

“If we keep progressing, and keep becoming a bigger university, it means the fitness and wellness program has to grow as well,” Fields said.

Fields said he works out in the fitness room in the mornings, when it is most packed. He said the equipment was outdated because the there is a lack of adjustability in equipment sizes.

“It’s not modern day equipment, you’re not doing the right workout for your body,” Fields said.

One option the university is considering is moving the fitness center to where the university pool is located. At the delegates agenda response, Webster Chief Financial Officer Greg Gunderson said the university is looking at all options with what they want to do with the pool.

On Oct. 17, Knetzer accompanied Webster facility managers inspecting the fitness room as mirrors were being replaced. Knetzer said she and the facility managers were exploring additional options to improve the fitness center.

“Everything else at this point will be theoretical with what we exactly can or cannot do,” Knetzer said.

Webster University Director of Public Relations Patrick Giblin said the university is hoping to install the new fitness equipment over winter break. Remodeling of the fitness center is expected to cost about $50,000. The administration will not know the exact cost until they review their bids.

Sophomore Scenic Design major Ben Lipinski believes the university has already made strides with trying to include healthier options to students. He said he does not frequently eat the campus dining food because it is too expensive.

Sodexo’s “Mindful Program” provides nutritional information on food provided to students on campus and additional data what Gunderson said “student’s want to know.” Sodexo’s sous chef from University of Missouri- Kansas City will also advise campus dining on how they can give students healthier and vegetarian options. The “Mindful Program” is expected to launch at Marletto’s after fall break.

Turbovote– Chief Communications Officer Barbara O’Malley said the university will provide a page which will give students options on how they can vote during election times. The page would include a link to turbovote, and provide information for students on how they can vote.

Student Organization Liaison Alex Bonney said he was confused by how the university was handling turbovote. Bonney, and other students were hoping TurboVote would help increase voter turnout at Webster University.

“I’m not upset, or disappointed. We’ll just have to wait and see,” Bonney said.

Campus Housing- Gunderson said administration is addressing the issue of campus housing by encouraging more students to study abroad. The long-term plans for additional housing is included in the University’s masterplan.

Gunderson said the university can also convert campus buildings into residential halls, citing Loretto Hall use to be a dormitory before it became office space.

“We are evaluating (all our options),” Gunderson said. “That will help us determine not only how much housing we need, but what kind of housing we need to add.”

Campus Smoking- The administration talked about smoking in the response and plan to place signage in front of buildings reminding students not to smoke in front of buildings. The current rule does not allow smoking within 30-feet of a Webster building.

Chief Human Resources Officer Betsy Schmutz said public safety will increase their enforcement on the smoking laws.

“I think we got some positive actions we can take. A big part of it is just putting the smoking as a community issue again,” Schmutz said.

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