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A Time to Innovate and Rethink the Basics (Sponsored)

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It is no secret, the campus rec landscape is a bit different now, or, as everyone says, “During these unprecedented times.” When you take a step back and look at the last 3 months, there is so much for recreation centers to be proud of. These times have pushed everyone beyond the furthest outskirts of their comfort zones, but in that uncomfortable space came an outpouring of innovation and creativity.

By meeting students where they are, at home and online, engagements and interactions are staying strong with key stakeholders. The transition to online Zoom-style classes and personal trainings has elevated the usual 80/20 rule, keeping the usual 80 percent of customers engaged but also bringing forth the other 20 percent who are historically impossible to attract. Competitions, such as those revolving around steps or minutes active, and more are also driving engagements during stay-at-home orders while driving social interactions and building a sense of community for students around their physical activities.  

These innovations have been key in reducing the barriers to entry that students perceive and help the rec centers continue to promote the connection between physical and mental health from afar. What’s going to happen when this “unprecedented time” ends?

The unseen benefit of students being away from campus is that it has provided a time to experiment and innovate, however, now is the time to start thinking about your basic offerings within your facility. What innovations can help drive more student engagements and continue to bring in the 20 percent once your doors reopen?

One way is to look at what aligns with current and incoming student’s values, and what is driving their decision-making. The largest driver is sustainability. A Neilsen study found that over 72 percent of generation Z is willing to pay more for a sustainable offering and 69 percent of gym users would prefer to work out in a gym with eco-friendly equipment.

Rethinking your basic cardio offerings, to imagine it as a green component of your facility, is a simple change with ECO-POWR energy producing cardio equipment. The ability to not only zero out the energy consumption of your cardio space but to turn it into a net positive impact asset aligns with what students are looking for. The swim coach at Penn State Altoona had this to say about green fitness equipment.

I like being able to look over at the board or I look at my phone and see that something I'm doing is kind of giving back to the school and obviously, it's a win-win because it benefits me from an exercise perspective but also benefits the school from the sustainability perspective as well.

—Brad Brooks | Head Men’s and Women’s Swim Coach

Bridging the gap between physical health and environmental health resonates with sustainably-minded students. The creation of the new exercise metric of watts to grid goes beyond calories burned or miles traveled to provide a tangible and positive impact from their workout. This metric is motivating for many users and a recently conducted survey found that 60 percent of respondents would be motivated to push themselves harder during their workout if they knew it was helping the environment.

When combined with the SA Well+ system, competitions can come to life! The SA WELL+ system provides a display that shows the total energy produced in the rec center as well as environmental equivalents to make the watt-hours more tangible. The technology also comes with a free user app, which allows students to track their workouts on the ECO-POWRTM machines and see their personal impact over time. By using the app to track individual students, they can compete using the leaderboard display screen to see who the top energy producer is over a given time period. Bringing friendly competition into the basic cardio space is another way to continue engagements and community involvement.

The biggest thing that sets ECO-POWR apart is that it teaches students that you don’t have to be the biggest, fastest, loudest, or have all the right gear to facilitate change. They just have to try, and by trying, they are changing their campus — one workout at a time.

Check out how green fitness could fit in your facility. Visit www.gosportsart.com/markets/university/ or call  800-709-1400 or 425-481-4979.

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