Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Making waves: Equitable access to Augie’s sporting facilities

Elise Brenner

Many students are aware of the sporting facilities on campus, such as the pool or PepsiCo, used for sports like swimming, water polo or track. However, these facilities represent an investment not just into the future of these teams, but of all students on this campus. These facilities should be available to all students, not just those who play sports.

Sporting facilities offer limited hours for students. The keyword here is limited. The only open swim hours available for students are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Not only are these limited to an hour per weekday, but they are also midday when many students are eating lunch or are in class. As a result, many students can’t utilize the resources intended for them, wasting resources for students and the college itself.

Maximizing the hours available for non-athletes, while not interfering with the practice schedule for student athletes, would speak to Augustana’s commitment to providing students with an education while empowering them to prioritize their health and wellness.

It would also provide additional opportunities for students to further their education. For example, students who are unable to swim would have access to the facilities necessary to learn.

In fact, in a story by Augustana highlighting the 2021 construction of Lindberg the school revisited the history of its pool use, including quoting alumni.

While recounting memories of her time at Augustana, Linnea Stone said of the pool, “I have fond memories of growing up on 9 1⁄2 Avenue and getting to swim at Augustana in the summers.”

Stone vividly recounts moments of swimming, something the majority of today’s students can’t do.

The current open swim hours provide a glimpse of opportunity, they fall short of catering to our student body’s diverse needs and schedules. Advocating for greater non-athlete student use of these facilities is not just about the concept of fairness but about fostering these core memories, creating a sense of well-being and maximizing Augustana’s resources to benefit all members of its community.

Expanding the hours in a way that doesn’t interfere with practices would send a powerful message in carrying on the experiences of former Augustana students to those in the present, so they could one day recount fond memories of time in the pool that go beyond the occasional hour.

A lack of staffing is also a restriction for more open swim hours. Increasing the number of students trained to supervise the pool would help to combat this issue.

When searching for information regarding the hours of student availability, I was met repeatedly with the same three pages.

One detailed the building of Lindberg, the second open swim hours from almost two years ago and the third details about how to reserve facilities. Non-athletes are offered the bare minimum of pool availability and information. Augustana needs to expand the hours and their accessibility.

As a low-impact sport, swimming is accessible to students with physical limitations. It is almost impossible for these students to find a similarly beneficial sport.

Advocating for greater non-athlete student use of sporting facilities is not just a matter of convenience, as balancing these needs is both necessary and possible.

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