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Petitioning Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson et al.

Remove restrictions on East Campus Athletic Village facilities

To whom it may concern,

This petition is not about me, but let me begin with who I am. I study here, at RPI, and am in my third year as a biomedical engineering and psychology student. Among my interests is powerlifting - something that I do competitively - and I feel that this institute's policies are not in favor of my pursuit.

Phase I of ECAV's construction (East Campus Stadium, East Campus Arena, Strength & Conditioning Center, Sports Medicine) appears to have cost $92,000,000, taken from the campus' budget, and plans remain for Phase II, which will likely cost a comparable amount. The facilities are state-of-the-art, robust, and well-maintained.

Aside from on Mondays to Fridays, from 8 AM to 4 PM, ECAV is closed. In the event that one trains during these available hours, varsity athletes receive priority on all equipment. Meanwhile, the now-aging Mueller Center is open Monday to Thursday from 7 AM to midnight, Friday from 7 AM to 9 PM, Saturday from 9 AM to 7 PM, and Sunday from 9 AM to midnight.

Even on Saturdays, the Mueller center is open for two hours longer than ECAV is on weekdays. The Mueller center is over-staffed with students in work studies and under-staffed with training personnel, while ECAV is under-staffed by students and over-staffed with training staff. 

From the standpoint of maintaining a facility such as ECAV, it is not illogical to consider restricting access. Access could, more fairly, be restricted to those who can demonstrate proficiency in the gym or have an athletic trainer around them in the event of non-proficiency. In any case, the hours should be changed. 

ECAV could truly be a wonderful thing for RPI, but because of the selfish way that the facility is being maintained, is not shining like it should be.

Each and every RPI student is paying for maintenance of the facilities at ECAV. The website associated with ECAV has links to donate to the facility that, only two years ago, former vice president of student life at Rensselaer, Dr. Eddie Ade Knowles, had thus envisioned at its inception:

"ECAV will elevate the Rensselaer student experience–minds, bodies, and spirits–for all of our students–for varsity athletes, and those who play club sports, for everyone who plays on an intramural team, and for the entire Rensselaer community... Elevating the quality of the student experience is key to this transformation, and athletics is one avenue toward creating a world-class undergraduate residential community... This magnificent complex is meant for the entire Rensselaer community."

With all things considered, this complex hardly appears to be "meant for the entire Rensselaer community" as it had supposedly been planned to be. I know that our university can do better.

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  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson et al.

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