Senate OKs weight-room improvements, reforms

Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek may soon be joined by more females in the Wilson Recreation Center weight room come next semester.

The Wilson Weight Room Initiative, proposed by Duke Student Government Senator Kristin Pfeiffer and approved by the Senate Wednesday night at the organization's weekly meeting, calls for changes to the weight room to make it a more welcoming environment for students, especially women.

The initiative aims to increase the resources and equipment available in the room, provide detailed information on how to use the machines properly and alter the room's layout so that body-building equipment is separated from the lighter weights.

Many women feel uncomfortable or intimidated by the male-dominated weight room-an issue the initiative will address, said Pfeiffer, a senior.

Student support for the initiative is significant, she added, noting that 510 students signed a petition for the changes.

"A big part of this program, a part of it that has been [met with the] most enthusiasm, is having a personal trainer in there twice a week," Pfeiffer said.

The female trainer will hold two-hour information sessions to teach interested women how to use the equipment and perform an effective workout, she added.

The initiative will also create "express circuits"-clusters of eight to 10 machines targeting different muscle groups-to provide an easy means of completing a balanced workout.

"I know students are pretty busy. This is a great way of doing a workout pretty quickly," said Kim McNally, program coordinator in the health, physical education and recreation department,

The weight room's renovation, particularly the focus on teaching students about proper workouts, will benefit all who use the room, she added.

"It's great for anyone-male, female, student or employee-who wants to learn how to use the equipment," McNally said.

In other business:

Representatives endorsed freshman Senator Mike Lefevre's resolution, which calls for the University to support students threatened by the Recording Industry Association of America. The RIAA recently issued e-mail warnings to 26 undergraduates.

Although the resolution does not outline specifically how Duke could help students, Lefevre said it is an initial step to encourage such support.

Continuing from last week's meeting, two vice presidents delivered status reports regarding their respective committee.

In her end-of-semester report, senior Genevieve Cody, vice president for community interaction, said her committee is planning a faculty-student day for next semester.

Cody said the event, which is likely to be hosted before a women's basketball game, will "provide a time when [students] can interact with faculty outside of the classroom that's not a Duke Conversation but more informally as human beings."

Sophomore Lucy McKinstry, vice president for student affairs, also outlined a new initiative in her mid-semester report. A Collaborative Events Fund will be set up next semester to pay for non-alcohol activities at social events. The fund has a $12,500 budget, but a long-term funding source has not been secured, McKinstry said.

A student advisory board to Counseling and Psychological Services is also in the works, McKinstry said, though she is not sure of where it stands due to a "communication gap" with junior Madison Li, a senator on the student affairs committee last year, who is heading the current project.

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