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Saturday, April 13, 2024

UC Davis ARC celebrates 10th anniversary

 On April 17, the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) will celebrate its 10th anniversary.

The ARC’s website states that a number of upcoming events are lined up to pay tribute to the facility’s success as a student hub. The activities include a Zumbathon, or a Zumba marathon, which will be on April 16 and will provide free Zumba classes for up to 100 people.

The ARC will also be giving away branded adhesive cell phone wallets for those with an ID, while supplies last.

According to the Campus Recreation and Union’s website, the ARC was originally planned as a primary location for student fitness and wellness. Since its foundation, it has grown into more than just a fitness center and has become a central locus on campus.

“The ARC has been a leading image for recreation since 2004,” said John Campbell, the executive director for Campus Recreation and Unions, Divisional Faculties and UC Davis Stores.

Before the creation of the ARC, students had to meet their health and fitness needs at the rec hall, more commonly referred to as the Pavilion Stadium, which was built in 1971. According to Campbell, a large number of recreational activities like basketball, volleyball and rock-climbing were all squeezed into the Pavilion.

The space was also used for large gatherings and other sports events, however, and would be closed for recreational activities during these times.

“Now you can use [the ARC] whenever you would like because it is always available,” Campbell said.

Or almost always, since the hours of the ARC during the weekdays are from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Jan Barnett, the associative director for Organizational Management, has been involved with the ARC since its creation.

Barnett said that, unlike its predecessor the Pavillion, the ARC has provided a lot of other services that are not generally associated with health and wellness. Some of these services include providing study space, meeting spaces and passport services.

“We have this kind of great facility for multiple purposes and activities. That was unique in the day,” Barnett said.

The ARC was also a pioneer in the growing idea of having a fusion facility.

“It’s the fusion of student life and union. The ARC was kind of a union because of the services it brought forward. A lot of campuses across the nation have followed that course,” Campbell said.

According to Barnett, this fusion setup is a result of trying to meet students’ needs.

Campbell also says that the ARC is the most popular selected service on campus. It is a selected service in the sense that students go there willingly and not out of necessity, unlike other popular campus locations like the financial aid office.

In addition to providing a new space for student congregation and fitness, the creation of the ARC has also spurred the reorganizing of recreation management on campus.

According to Campbell, two primary departments handled student recreation before this reorganization: the Pavilion and the Union, which oversaw things like the Equestrian Center, Craft Center, Outdoor Adventures and the Rec Pool. Now, all recreational activities are managed under one department: The Campus Recreation and Unions.

“The model we have today, you’ll see in 90 percent of the institutions for higher education. It’s very common,” Campbell said.

Today, about an average of 5,000 to 6,000 people pass through the ARC per day. And most of the people who use the ARC are students. Weston Selna, a second-year biomedical engineering major, regularly visits the ARC.

“I come to the ARC three times a week, at least. It’s part of my daily routine. It’s made me stay on campus more and it works with my schedule. If I have a two-hour break between classes I can come here and get my workout in and go home and shower, and then come back to school,” Selna said.

Selna also said that the ARC provides many other facilities that you wouldn’t normally get at other gyms, like a rock climbing wall, abundant basketball courts and racquetball courts.

Megan Ma, a second-year landscape architecture major, also said that she goes to the ARC because it is the sensible and economic thing to do.

“We don’t really get this at home because you have to pay for membership. But I guess in a way we pay through tuition. So that’s why I think it’s something that every student should use,” Ma said.

According to Jennifer Eting, the associate director of Communications and Marketing, the 10th anniversary celebration this month is a way to commend the heavy involvement of students with the ARC.

According to the ARC’s website, it was initially students who wanted to expand recreational facilities on campus. In 1999, the Facilities and Campus Enhancements (FACE) Initiative was passed, funding the construction and the maintenance of the ARC through student fees. To this day, the facility is funded 100 percent by students.

“We want people to understand that it came out of a student-driven initiative and it has had an impact on the lives of students for the past 10 years,” Eting said.

  Eting said that the celebration and its activities aren’t just a celebration of an anniversary, but a way to tell the story of the students and members of the campus community. The partnership between the ARC and students has been the foundation for student opinions to impact the development of the campus.

“We had a small food service in there when we opened. We would say that it was a failure because it didn’t meet the needs of the students. So we got together a group of students and asked them what they would want. The name Starbucks came up,” Campbell said.

Campbell said that students’ input will also be vital for the upcoming expansion of the ARC. It it currently projected that the ARC is going to be given an additional 25,000 square feet of space, though the exact location for the expansion has not been determined yet.

The Campus Recreation and Unions is deciding between expanding towards the west side near La Rue, expanding into the ARC’s courtyard or moving into the Starbucks, though they intend to keep Starbucks intact.

Campbell said that it shows the remarkable performance of the campus that, only after 10 years in service, the ARC is already prepared to change.

“This is the 10-year anniversary, and it’s a growing and thriving facility. The popularity of the ARC has allowed for it to evolve and continue evolving,” Campbell said.

LEYLA KAPLAN can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

 

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