Students Expect So Much More From Fitness Facilities

Students Expect So Much More From Fitness Facilities

Head of Sports Development and Active Lifestyles at Matrix Fitness UK customer, Staffordshire University, Jonathan Pace

Being based on a university campus, I can imagine there is an assumption within the sector that we have a captive audience when it comes to members. After all, we get a new influx of students every September and if we get our offer right, we also get our returners, right?

Maybe in years gone by this might have been the case, but certainly here at Staffs we know our customer expectations have to be met, after all the majority are paying an additional £9k per year for the privilege of being here, so your monthly gym membership really has to be spot on.

Twelve months after a major refurbishment, we are still feeling the ‘wow’ factor. We have a constant stream of other institutes wanting to come and see what we have managed to do with a dated, small sports centre.

When your fellow universities are spending upwards of £20m on sports facilities, some up towards £40m, yet they still want to see what we have achieved with the space is real testament to the project.

Physical activity on university campuses is starting to become a regular topic of conversation. There is plenty of evidence out there to demonstrate that active students adapt to university better, handle the pressures of student life better and when it comes to graduating, gain better grades.

In fact, I’m part of the first British Universities & Colleges Sport, Physical Activity Steering Group, a direct reaction to the need for universities to acknowledge the importance of physical activity beyond that of playing in competitive sport.

At Staffs, and on many other campuses across the country, we are not precious about this being about members in the gym, we are spreading our thoughts and activities to offer a variety of opportunities for our students and community to get active.

With a 24hour campus, our spin bikes in the library at 3am, our outdoor table tennis tables and our pop-up yoga classes are not unusual sights. All playing their own part in getting more people, more active…we do still see the knock-on with them joining the gym, so win-win!

Staffordshire University is committed to not only helping increase the physical activity levels of our student community, but also our local community and what better time to be doing this than in the year Stoke-on-Trent celebrates being European City of Sport.

So whether activity is inside, outside, 6am, 11pm or whenever the dog needs a walk, we should all be ready to engage and embrace the different ways in which people want their exercise fix.