By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Recreation Center looks to re-enforce dress code policy


The University Recreation Center is currently working on polishing its rules and policy book and more strictly re-enforcing the dress code.

The policy will state that people using the gym must keep a shirt on at all times unless the student is participating in a game of shirts and skins, according to Michael Montgomery, membership services and facility coordinator of University Recreation.

Shoes are another article of clothing that must be worn at all time unless a person is in the locker room.

Currently, there is no punishment for breaking the dress code, but staff members are working on appropriate ways to regulate rules and punishments.

During winter quarter, the Rec Center began randomly surveying Central  students, asking questions about the Recreation Center’s dress code.

According to the Rec Center website, the survey is part of a new health and body image awareness campaign.

The results of the survey will pinpoint where changes are needed in the dress code in order to provide a more inviting environment.

University Recreational officials said these policies have been in place since the center opened in 2006.

“Our policies, they are not new policies, they are actually pre-existing,” Montgomery said.  “We’re just looking to enforce them a bit stronger and make sure that people know that they are in place. We have had a dress code policy that has been in use since we have opened.”

Students may not know where to find these policies, or that they even exist. Juan Figueroa, junior public health major, had no idea there was a dress code.

“I didn’t even know about it and even if they were to be more strict about it, I think everyone will pretty much ignore it unless you kick them out or something,” Figueroa said.

Figueroa was not pleased about the University Recreation officials’ decision to begin reinforcing these policies.

“It’s annoying to go work out and not be comfortable,” Figueroa said. “I don’t think girls show too much, and every guy wears a cut-off shirt. Pretty much everyone is going to be disappointed about this.”

Brandon Walton, junior clinical physiology major, agrees.

“We are grown adults and we should be able to wear what we are comfortable in,” Walton said. “We aren’t kids anymore.”

University Recreation officials don’t want students to think this is just about making them wear more clothing to the gym. The purpose of the campaign is to inform students that these are existing policies.

“It’s for many reasons, but the primary function of every policy is safety,” Montgomery said. “If you look at our cell phone policy and dress code policy, they are both rooted in safety.”

According to Andy Fields, director of University Recreation, the number of people not following the policy has continued to increase.

“That’s why you see the increase in signage, we are working to inform the student body that these policies exist and to make it a little easier on our staff too,” Fields said. “It’s never fun to enforce these types of policies.”

The dress code policy helps to ensure safety and proper hygiene.

“When it comes to exposed skin, when you get a lot of users such as our facility, we see anywhere between 2-3,000 people on average during the week,” Montgomery said. “That’s a lot of skin contact with the equipment. We are looking to minimize that because clothing can be a great physical barrier between your skin and the equipment that helps combat MRSA, ring worm, and some of those notorious skin-borne pathogens that can be prevalent at health facilities.”

Aside from hygiene, dress codes policies also affect the appearance aspect of a gym.

“We want a non-intimidating environment,” Fields said. “A gym shouldn’t just be for an elite athlete, it should be for everybody. Everybody should be embracing health and wellness no matter what their body looks like.”

According to Fields, Central’s Rec Center standards are on par with other universities, especially concerning the dress code.

“A lot of universities don’t allow anything less than a t-shirt for your upper body,” Montgomery said.

After two years as the membership and facility coordinator, Montgomery said he feels he finally has the chance to make some changes.  Now that he has his feet on the ground, he can focus on strengthening policies.

“We want this to be not just a gym but a true collegiate recreation center, where people maybe have never had the opportunity to be in a facility like this and be able to work out,” Montgomery said. “They are able to develop these lifelong habits, so once they move away from Ellensburg they can find a facility and continue that.”

The University Recreation Center welcomes comments and feedback from anyone. Students are encouraged to contact them via email at [email protected].

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