Rutgers to provide free flex passes to all students
Rutgers Recreation is now providing free Flex Passes to students for the upcoming academic year.
The gym passes, which used to cost $45, will be free and can be used for all 135 fitness classes held throughout the day from Monday through Sunday.
Classes are held on all four campuses at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center, the Cook/Douglass Recreation Center, the Livingston Recreation Center and the College Avenue Gymnasium. Students must show ID before the classes.
The Division of Student Affairs was searching for ways to improve health opportunities for students, said Stacy Trukowski, interim executive director of Rutgers Recreation, in an email.
“The Fitness and Wellness class program was identified as a strong program that could provide weekly wellness opportunity for students,” she said. “Yet not all students have access because of the usage charge.”
The Rutgers Recreation Fitness Program is a way to get both your mind and body fit through positive motivation, according to their website. The program offers a broad range of classes, from yoga and spin classes to BodyPump. The schedule of classes can be found on their website.
In order to make the Flex Pass available to students free of charge, funding for one year was provided by Melodee Lasky, assistant vice chancellor of Health and Wellness, Trukowski said.
“One of the core values of Student Affairs is holistic learning,” she said. “We strive to make every experience an opportunity for student growth and development. We are committed to the development of the total student by engaging with students and creating educational moments where students live, learn, work and play.”
The Flex Pass is now free in order to increase student use by removing a monetary barrier, Trukowski said.
“Group fitness classes are an excellent way to build self-efficacy,” she said. “It is important that our students have access to practices that can help reduce stress and depression such as meditation, yoga and cardiovascular exercise.”
The feedback has been positive so far, she said, though Flex Passes have always been free during the first week of school.
Trukowski said she is expecting greater numbers of students to show up to classes. She cited Ohio State University as another school that increased student participation by offering free classes a few years ago.
While Rutgers has made classes free for one year, Trukowski and other staff members are looking for ways to continue funding the program going forward.
"I would love for it to continue," Trukowski said. "We believe it is an important program and we want all of our students to be able to participate."
Rutgers' free Flex Pass initiative is extremely beneficial for students, said Danielle Alter, a Rutgers Business School junior.
“It shows that the University really cares about their students health and provides a service that students might have not been able to afford prior to it becoming free,” Alter said. “I’m excited that I will be able to go to these classes with all of my friends who were not interested in purchasing Flex Pass in previous semesters.”
Those who did not buy a Flex Pass in previous years are now taking advantage of all the classes they can take.
Daniel Kats, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, went to his first class called GRIT.
“My girlfriend loves the flex pass classes, and dragged me to two in the first week of school,” Kats said. “I absolutely loved it, and we also get to spend quality time together. Now I have the opportunity to work out how and when I want."
Not all students were able to afford Flex Passes before, but now everyone can achieve their fitness goals, said Ronni Luftig, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.
“Now, I'm able to convince my friends to come to the gym with me," Luftig said. “I used to have to go alone.”
Noa Halff is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in journalism and media studies. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum.