By: Nathan Feifel  | 

Limited Athletic Center Hours Frustrate Students

Shooting around in the gym with friends is a tough moment to come by these days at the Wilf Campus.

Students at Yeshiva University admit that their college offers them a lot: a religious environment conducive to observing a Jewish lifestyle, a portion of the day allocated towards Judaic studies, a terrific location in Manhattan, great academics, and more. However, many students on the Wilf Campus have noted that one of the things their institution does not offer, much to their dismay, is a workout facility with adequate hours.

The Max Stern Athletic Center, which serves YU students as the fitness facility on the Wilf Campus, is no doubt a busy place. The Furst Gymnasium is the most frequently utilized component of the athletic center, and services many men’s sports teams, women’s sports teams who travel uptown from the Beren Campus, and even has some high school athletics obligations as well.

In the fall, the gymnasium is used by men’s baseball, men’s softball, and women’s volleyball; in the winter, men’s basketball, men’s fencing, women’s basketball, and MTA boys’ basketball use the gym; and men’s volleyball, women’s volleyball, men’s baseball, and men’s softball use the facility in the Spring. The gymnasium is also occupied by intramural sports leagues at various times throughout the week.

Beyond just athletic events, the gymnasium is a regular location for hosting social events and other college programs on campus, making the facility’s schedule even busier. These events include Chanukafest and the annual Yeshiva Melave Malka, both which took place in the past couple weeks.

Because the gymnasium is so often reserved and therefore closed off to the rest of YU students during these times, the result is a situation that leaves many of these students dissatisfied.

“What I want is just a gym that is open for me and my friends to come to,” said Syms Junior Aaron Szydlo. “I think there should be better hours to shoot around at times that are more convenient for students, especially given the lengthy day of both Judaic and secular classes.”

Barring any unordinary circumstances during weekdays this fall semester, the gymnasium has been regularly open to YU students from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on weekdays. Szydlo shared that he finished classes at 5:45 p.m. this semester, making his schedule and that of the facility’s open hours largely incompatible. “Starting to play basketball at 10:00 really inopportune and usually not worth it,” Szydlo concluded.

Joe Bednarsh, Director of Athletics, said, “my job is to try to accommodate all the various needs as best I can. We have many events on campus that have tremendous attendance and the gym is truly the only space to fit them.” He explained, “we also make efforts to have the Fitness Center and Pool available for student use most times the basketball courts are taken offline so there are still some outlets for student use.”

While the pool and fitness center do offer other options to exercise at YU, students’ frustrations extend beyond just the gymnasium. On weekdays, the fitness center is scheduled to open its doors to students at 7:00 a.m. However, many students have arrived at such a time to be met with a locked facility and security guards who can’t open it until the student representative overseeing the facility shows up.

The same complaint has been voiced about the pool opening on time. With hours from 8:00 midnight on nights excluding Friday and Saturday, the pool already has a limited schedule.

“It has happened multiple times that I got there and it was locked,” said told Syms Junior Aaron Goldmeier about both the fitness center and pool. “I already have a rigorous schedule here at YU, and I can’t afford to waste time because of student employees who don’t show up when they’re supposed to.”

As the semester winds to a close, students who have voiced their displeasure with any of the various scheduling issues of the athletic center on campus are hoping that their frustrations are heard, and that next semester shows some improvements to the athletic aspect of student life.