Mandatory gym memberships for GUSA make no sense

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The Glasgow University Gym

Credit: Glasgow Guardian / Rhiannon Doherty

Selena Drake
Deputy Editor

One would think it a top priority of a student seeking to get fit to join a sports team in order to avoid a costly gym membership. However, the catch with Glasgow University’s Sports Association is that if you want to join one of the sports societies you are also expected to pay to become a gym member in accordance. This, from some perspectives, defeats the point of joining a sports team in the first place.
Once you’ve paid the £100 for university gym membership, £40 for annual membership to a sports team, and a considerable amount more on sports clothes and equipment, the cost adds up considerably. It just doesn’t make sense that students are required to pay for membership for the gym as well as for their chosen sports society. Most training sessions don’t even take place in the gym, and the student might not even step foot in there at all. As the cherry on top, the cost of gym membership at Glasgow University is continuing to rise; as of this year the price for an annual membership has risen by another £25, which amounts to a 25% price hike.

Are you a student hoping to enjoy a sport at Glasgow University, but wish to save money by only paying for a term’s worth of admission into a sports society? Unfortunately, your attempt to budget will not have much effect as you’ll only be able to knock 25 quid off the annual gym membership that comes with your society’s membership fee. Since this barely qualifies as a discount, you might as well pay for the entire year.

The sad reality at Glasgow University is that fitness comes at a hefty and unnecessary price, unless you’re solely satisfied with jogging through the park. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with choosing to go for a run as an alternative, but it is natural that people would hope for a diverse range of options when it comes to physically developing one’s wellbeing. The obligatory gym membership fee, alongside what would otherwise be a significantly cheaper societal membership cost, can only in result in helping to discourage many students from attempting to build their fitness. Fitness, of course, is not the only thing that students might miss out on if they decide against investing in their chosen sports society. Engaging in all of the fun activities a sports society might have to offer such as socials, making friends, having a chance to enhance one’s CV, are only some of the things that students might be deterred from gaining due to the nonsensical gym membership cost.

Glasgow University itself is missing out by instating the compulsory annual gym fee alongside societal fees. It could potentially be depriving itself of a great deal of student potential as talented, sporty students may also decide against paying up when attempting to rationalise the concept of donating to the gym without sufficiently benefitting from it themselves in the process. What is even more sad; naturally introverted students who have found difficulty in making friends in such a large environment, and who possibly are situated far from home, could also be dissuaded from joining a sports team. Sports societies are known to provide social environments that actively challenge and inspire students, as well as building up strong friendships through encouraging teamwork and companionship. These values are invaluable for a student who hopes to expand their social circle, but who would otherwise feel too shy to approach people on their own.

There really is no plausible excuse for charging students for membership to a facility they may not even wish to go to. This surcharge that is unfairly accompanying sports society membership fees is effectively serving as a barrier to many students, ultimately preventing them from participating in an experience that could be beneficial to them in so many ways. Furthermore, GUSA is removing what would be a cheaper option for students who hope to build up their fitness and wellbeing. Without the gym membership fee, students would ultimately be paying only a third of the current overall price to join their chosen sports society. Most students simply cannot afford to be paying two-thirds more than they should reasonably be paying for sports.