Students have the freedom to decide how often they dine at O’Donovan Hall, choosing from a variety of tiered weekly and block plans. But if we can control how often we consume our heart’s desire of Hershey’s ice cream in Leo’s, why can’t we choose how often we burn it off at Yates Field House?

The yearly $348 Yates fee is compulsory for full-time undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of how often — if ever — they use the recreation center. This policy is inflexible and unnecessary; we therefore propose that Yates membership be restructured in a way reminiscent of the model that follows meal plans.

It is understandable that the university would not want to create a disincentive for exercise, but mandatory fees are not the solution. Student gym membership should be optional, just as meal plans are for upperclassmen.

Tiered plans should be implemented to fit student needs, depending on how frequently they go to Yates. As with dining, only a small fraction of students desire carte blanche gym access. In reality, most Yates users go a few times each week, and different plans should be available to reflect that variability. Block plans, for example, would benefit students whose weekly schedules require more flexibility.

And while Georgetown certainly has its share of gym rats, students who prefer outdoor alternatives like running through the city should not be charged for services they don’t use at the field house. No other building on campus requires an entrance fee, and other recreational programs, such as intramural sports, are purchasable at a student’s discretion.

In addition to the typical equipment and pool access, Yates offers group fitness classes and guest memberships. To make these services more convenient, students who enjoy spinning or yoga should be able to use a form of Flex Dollars toward taking classes at the gym. Money not spent on programs or classes could be spent at the Yates Pro Shop on anything from university apparel to earplugs for lap swimming.

Leo’s has dining options to match all kinds of diets, and Yates memberships should reflect student preferences as well. A recreation center means different things for everyone, so why are we all paying the same fee?

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