The Ryerson athletics department is now initiating periodic OneCard checks at both the Ryerson Athletics Centre (RAC) and the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) gyms.
The new policy went into effect Jan. 29 and allows facility employees to ask any gym users to see their OneCard as proof of membership.
“I understand the desire to make sure the right people are in the gyms, and that people aren’t taking advantage of the space without being a member,” said Adam Jenkins, fourth-year sports media student.
The new OneCard checks policy is being used to address poor behaviour, build community, and actively engage students and members.
“OneCard checks are one part of a larger effort to ensure our students, members and staff feel safe and welcome in our facilities,” said Ryerson athletics recreation manager, Andrew Pettit.
The process of creating and implementing the policy was prompted by Ryerson’s attempt to ensure all athletics participants are students or members of the university. Pettit said the strategic plan helps to foster an overall sense of shared ownership in the long-run, as well as establish a healthier community.
“Our staff experience resistance and even harassment at times when clearing gyms for activity transitions,” said Pettit. “Other students have also let us know they don’t always feel as welcome or included as they would hope in our open recreation spaces in particular.”
Since the policy has come into play, the athletic department has completed several OneCard checks at both campus gyms. Pettit said they recognize that being asked to show your OneCard during a workout can be disruptive, but the checks will only take place once in a while.
“Each time we have done a check, it’s only been a minute or two interruption for participants, and, without exception, all students and members have been understanding and supportive,” he said. “We’ve also found that with each check, there’s been a handful of folks who aren’t students or members, but they have left without issue.”
Jenkins, who uses the MAC six to seven times a week, said that the tap-to-enter doors is a seemingly good system in place, but he knows students are aware of alternate ways to get in to the facilities. He does not understand how others would know of the ways to get through to the gym, but he is curious to know how many users do not actually belong to the Ryerson community.
Pettit says the policy addresses the issue of non-Ryerson members using the facilities and hopes that the periodic checks will filter them out.
“It’s also important to note that fundamentally, students and members have paid either as part of student or membership fees, for access to our facilities and programs,” said Pettit. “It’s important we ensure they aren’t displaced by other folks trespassing in.”
For those who forget to bring their card, the athletic department has a “forgotten card” form that can be filled out at the front-entrance service desks at both gyms, and will be provided with a copy to carry with them into the gym. If at the time of a OneCard check, users do not have the card or form with them, they will be asked to retrieve it from their locker or bag before resuming their activity.
Long Pham, third-year criminology student and active user of the RAC, said, “People tend to leave their belongings in the locker, with the exceptions of their phones, so it would be a nuisance to go all the way back to the locker room to grab the card.”
Pettit said he hopes that the policy will help staff, students, and members to feel a sense of belonging to and pride in the larger Ryerson community, and safe and welcomed at the RAC and MAC.
“The positive impact of regular physical activity on our physical and mental health, as well as our academic and work performance, is well understood,” he said. “It’s our job to ensure every Ryerson student has the opportunity to get active, experience those benefits, and feel connected to something beyond themselves.”