Students grapple with restrictive gym scheduling

USC students are finding it difficult to work out with the limited spaces available for gym reservations.

USC students are frustrated about the restrictive reopening of the university’s two indoor fitness centers.

Some of them aren’t happy about having to schedule reservations, which are made available two days prior and fill up in minutes. And even then, the time slots they get might not fit their schedules.

“You’ve got to time it, and pretty much be there 48 hours in advance,” graduate student Eric Lencioni said. “But yeah, it does suck, especially if you’re in class or have something that’s going on.”

The Lyon Center and Village Fitness Center are the only on-campus facilities for students looking to get a workout in. Unlike pre-pandemic times, students can’t easily walk into the gyms and hop on the equipment anymore.

USC Recreational Sports, a division of Student Affairs, implemented a policy that limits the number of people in the facilities per time slot, which are available in 75-minute and two-hour intervals.

In a statement released to Annenberg Media, USC Vice President for Student Affairs Winston Crisp said they were aware the lack of availability and complicated reservation system was a consistent source of frustration for some students.

“We are currently refining the schedule and reservation system,” said Crisp. “We are planning to extend hours of operation as soon as we can get more team members on board.”

These planned changes can’t come soon enough for students wanting to use the gyms who find themselves faced with limited opportunities for access.

“Exercising is really for my mental health,” said graduate student Jeena Epperson. “And I’m a grad student and so I have only, like, certain times I can go. And so it hasn’t been very easy or available for me to be able to come.”

USC junior Eli Kaufman used to go to Lyon Center almost every day during his freshman year, before the pandemic hit. Since returning to campus, he hasn’t been able to use the facility at all because of the limited availability.

“I think it’s sort of ridiculous,” he said about the new reservation system. “I’m not a fan. I think it’s restrictive. I think it’s prohibiting a healthier lifestyle for a lot of students.”

Aside from the limited time slots, Kaufman was also unhappy with the shortened hours of operation for the Lyon Center. Pre pandemic, the facility used to be open until midnight six days a week. It currently closes at 5:15 p.m. with the last reservation at 4 p.m.

“For someone who’s busy during the day, and [has] a lot of club meetings at night, it doesn’t even matter if I could get a spot,” Kaufman said. “They should just get rid of reservations and let people in the gym as long as you wear masks and are vaccinated.”