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Back to school gets physical at SFCC

August 20, 2018 GMT

Going back to college locally just became more fun — and likely, healthier — for full-time Santa Fe Community College students.

Starting this semesters, full-time students will have greater access to the William C. Witter Fitness Education Center — it will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day Friday for students.

Called ¡Viva! Free Fitness for Full-Time Students, this is a pilot program for the fall semester, an initiative that students wanted. (Other students who aren’t taking 12 credit hours or more can get access to exercise facilities by taking a fitness class; the college has a broad offering available.)

Because students asked, they will be able to use the gymnasium, swimming pools, walking track, resistance training center and tennis courts.

The idea, says interim President Cecilia Cervantes, is to help students do well in school.

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“We know that physical fitness contributes to academic success, so I’m pleased to offer this pilot program to our students,” Cervantes said. “We encourage students to take advantage of ¡Viva!”

Students who are eligible for ¡Viva! must be enrolled in 12 or more credit hours and sign a liability waiver, available at the center. They’ll need a valid SFCC student identification card to use facilities. We hope stopping by the pool or gym becomes a healthy habit for many.

In fact, this is such a good idea, we’re surprised it is just now becoming available. Many universities and colleges, in fact, promote their “extras” — the gyms and other attractions as part of recruiting students. Gyms, climbing walls, weight rooms, swimming pools, even water parks are part of the “college” experience.

For students at community college, being able to stop by the gym after classes offers additional opportunity not just to exercise, but to make friends. After all, SFCC students aren’t hanging out together in dorms or at football games. They commute to school, giving the college a different atmosphere than four-year schools, with less opportunity to form community.

Opening up recreational facilities will give students a chance to meet more people. They could end up being healthier, both physically and mentally — and that will be a plus for both the college and its students. Now, to find a way to add more recess and exercise time for K-12 students.