ASG, NU FitRec work to bring Zumba to South Campus

A Zumba class, open to students and residents, is taught at the Crown Sports and Aquatics Center. ASG announced that Zumba classes will also be available at Parkes Hall in the spring.

Skylar Zhang/The Daily Northwestern

A Zumba class, open to students and residents, is taught at the Crown Sports and Aquatics Center. ASG announced that Zumba classes will also be available at Parkes Hall in the spring.

Ally Mutnick, Assistant Campus Editor

Associated Student Government is working with Northwestern Fitness and Recreation to bring a free Zumba class to Parkes Hall this spring as part of a trial run to set up more group exercise classes on South Campus.

The ASG Student Life Committee came up with the idea after hearing complaints from South Campus students about the long walk north to the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatics Center, especially in the winter.

Zumba, a dance fitness program using Latin and international music, will be held Thursday evenings in Parkes Hall 122, 1870 Sheridan Road. ASG originally tried to schedule it in Blomquist Recreation Center, but the space was booked by student dance teams and martial arts clubs.

Maddie Stuart, a member of the Student Life Committee who led the planning, said NU FitRec was very receptive about holding a class outside of SPAC when she reached out to them.

“The classes they hold there are really wonderful,” she said of SPAC. “But the distance is a huge downside.”

Current group exercise classes, including Zumba, yoga and weight training, are held predominantly in SPAC.

Stuart mentioned that upcoming SPAC renovations may provide more exercise rooms. NU FitRec would be able to move some of the martial arts and dance groups to SPAC, leaving more room in Blomquist for South Campus group fitness classes.

“This is kind of like a pilot program,” the SESP sophomore said. “If we can show them there is a demand for fitness classes down south, they will be more likely to add some in the future.”

Alex Van Atta, ASG vice president for student life, said the committee was looking to possibly add a yoga class as well.

He said the NU FitRec staff seemed very open to adding Zumba and other South Campus options.

“This is something new they are trying out,” the McCormick junior said. “I think this just shows that they are willing to work with us.”

In addition to fitness, Van Atta said his committee has been working with athletics to bring other changes for students that had been suggested through the ASG outreach website, Campus Voice.

Medill junior Jenna Frasier said those who live on South Campus are acclimated to walking a long distance to SPAC to take classes and that those who are very motivated to take the classes will make the trek. This is one of the downsides of living south, which balances upsides such as having easier access to downtown Evanston, she said.

“I feel like if you’re on South Campus you’re just kind of used to it,” Frasier said. “Everything has a pro and a con.”

He said the group is also working with NU Athletics to get cheaper tickets for students who want to sit outside the student section at Ryan Field when parents or friends come to visit. The committee is also working on increasing attendance at athletic events.

Stuart said she hopes the South Campus Zumba class will encourage students to come to classes.

“Hopefully students will want to come out and exercise,” she said. “I know a lot of people are excited about the possibility of not walking all the way north to get their one hour of exercise in.”

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