Despite reaching more than 3,000 signatures, a petition crafted by junior journalism student Jakob Janoski in hopes of reopening the Rec Center for student use has yet to result in any change from WVU.
The petition was released last month on change.org and caught the attention of the WVU administration. However, despite the petition's recognition, there has been little progress overall.
According to Janoski, there was no new information given out during the Campus Conversation last month.
“They held firm that the Student Rec Center will be staying closed," Janoski said. "I do believe that this petition has politely put the University into a position in which they have to respond to the people who signed the petition, which is a good thing.”
WVU's Director of Campus Recreation Andrew Darling did offer a statement last week regarding the status of the Rec Center.
“The University’s health and safety advisory team continues to evaluate the evolving information related to the virus and make adjustments as necessary including the use of the Rec Center,” Darling said.
Since the Rec Center is serving as WVU’s primary COVID-19 testing and vaccination hub, Darling said “its location, parking and large open space availability makes it the best option for this critical activity for the health and safety of the entire campus community.”
The Rec Center has offered access to educational and recreational opportunities throughout the pandemic in a variety of ways including virtual classes, Field REC and other activities in partnership with the Refresh series.
However with the winter weather making an impact, all outdoor recreational activities have been moved virtual, resulting in lower participation and a greater push from students for changes to be made.
Senior Gillian Wanosky, a virtual barre instructor, said the turnout for online workout classes is not very consistent.
“I think it’s much easier to motivate yourself to come to an in-person class because you have to physically take yourself to the Rec Field," Wanosky said. "Being virtual, there’s so many distractions around you, and I think it’s sometimes tempting to skip out when you’re at home.”
As stated by Darling, students whose courses are all online received a two-thirds reduction of their student fees to reflect the fact they’re not present to take part in many of the in-person services.
According to Wanosky, the in-person, outdoor Rec activities are set to continue with warmer weather, but until then, it will remain online-only while the Rec Center remains closed.
Janoski still remains hopeful that his petition will spark more conversation.
“No one from the University has reached out to me," Janoski said, "but I look forward to having a conversation with whom I called out on the petition."