Recent data suggests students at Ohio University utilize the Ping Recreation Center steadily at the beginning of each semester and not just during the New Year.
Ping saw the most student swipe access during the academic year in February and September and the least amount of swipes during May, according to university data from 2015 to 2018. A total of 518,000 swipes were used in 2017, which was the highest annual amount of student access.
While the highest amount of swipes did not occur during the month of January of each year, a stronger correlation is due to the new semester, Brittany Barten, the member services coordinator for Campus Recreation, said.
“I think that not only students but faculty and staff as well, they're coming back to campus, they have a few days down, and this is their best time to get off on the right foot,” she said. “The deeper you get into the semester, the more projects, the more finals, the more exams you have, the less willing you are to sacrifice personal experiences I guess.”
Madison Linville, a sophomore studying journalism, said she decided over Winter Break to start going to Ping more at the start of the new semester.
“I can see that there would be a decrease throughout the semester because students would want the semester to have a good start,” Linville said.
The average in January in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 was about 64,000 swipes, but in February the average was about 70,000 swipes. That is possibly due to students arriving back on campus after Winter Break in the middle of January, so more swipes are used during the month of February, too.
“To see that January we've got pretty good numbers, but even in February, we are seeing really good numbers,” Barten said. “So, that's what leads me to believe that it's less likely a New Year's resolution and more likely that they're just coming back for the semester.”
Even in September, the number of swipes is high. The academic year does not start until the end of August, and Ping starts allowing Fall Semester students in midway through August, she said.
This January, there was a total of about 52,000 swipes. According to the data, the number of swipes decreases toward the month of May each year, which is also toward the end of the academic year.
Tessa Corio, a sophomore studying exercise physiology and a personal trainer at Campus Recreation, said she personally has not noticed an increase in personal training clients since the new year.
“I theorize that this could be due to people taking their resolutions/goals into their own hands and wanting to work towards them independently,” Corio said in an email. “Also, with all the fitness Instagram pages, blogs, etc., pre-made workouts are extremely accessible, so people might not feel the need to get a trainer.”
In order to retain students’ swipes into Ping, Barten said she and her colleagues are focusing on compiling information and working with Institutional Research to look at different demographics.
“I think for the future we will just continue working on grabbing these demographics to help us to reach out to students and really show our value in their collegiate experience,” she said.