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Maximizing Campus Fitness Center Impact with Community Outreach

March 21, 2022

Campus-based fitness centers are generally supported by tuition and fees; however, since the fall of 2019, undergraduate and community college enrollment in the U.S. has declined 6.6% and 13.2% respectively. Add in COVID-related expenses, and many campus-based fitness centers are struggling.

Alternatively, financially sustainable campus fitness and recreation models are solving these challenges by expanding membership to the community. This strategy, properly executed, ensures the campus fitness and recreation center will be self-supporting and commercially competitive:

  • Community members provide a market rate revenue stream to help support required staffing, programming, technology, and capital requirements.
  • In most cases, there is minimal overlap between the campus and community demographics’ preferred usage times, maximizing utilization for a facility already open 70-90 hours per week.
  • Opening the campus fitness center to the community eases any “Town v. Gown” tensions, building solid, positive connections between the campus and its immediate neighbors.

We need to abandon the mindset that campus fitness and recreation facilities are an amenity to be heavily subsidized. Instead, campus-based fitness centers represent a viable opportunity to serve as both the epicenter of campus socialization and physical activity and as well as a home base for community well-being. The Health & Fitness Center at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, MI provides a solid case study an integrated university-owned, community-based campus fitness center.

Power Wellness understands the challenges unique to college-based fitness centers.  We provide meaningful and innovative solutions to maximize the value of your fitness and recreation center’s impact. In addition, we help provide a viable business model those students seeking health and wellness education, can learn from.

Want to learn more? Click here to connect with Power Wellness.