Willson: Game day campus closures disrupt student life

Lauren Willson

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Colorado is ranked as the #1 most active state in the nation, and our campus is no exception to that classification. So, when the Colorado State University Recreation Center announced that it would be closed for every home football game, a large number of students were rightly upset.


In addition to this closure, home football games also prevent clubs and extracurricular organizations from holding on-campus events. It is ridiculous that all campus activity is put on hold for one sporting event. As an academic institution, we should not stress football as the most important thing, but instead encourage a wide variety of pursuits that enrich the wellbeing of students.

First, the issue of the clubs and extracurriculars. I’m the vice president of CSU’s French club, Le Cercle Français, and I was recently informed that our organization would have to postpone and relocate a cultural event because it interfered with game day activities. At the very most, our activity, which teaches students about traditional dance of francophone cultures, would have attracted between 20 to 25 people. Surely, such an influx of ‘traffic’ would not interrupt the precious ongoings of a Saturday football game.

That is exactly what the University seems to fear: even the most minor increase in population will disturb the perfect orchestration of stadium procedures. If there is a game going on, nothing else matters, even if “else” refers to culturally enlightening, educational pastimes.

Second, the Rec Center closures are not necessary. Exercise is not only important for physical health, but crucial for mental wellbeing. Those who suffer from depression, anxiety, or other psychological impediments often use exercise as a constructive coping mechanism.

While I can’t speak for everyone, I know that if I miss even one day of working out, physical and emotional symptoms of withdrawal emerge. My energy levels plummet, focus wanes, and I get wrapped up in thoughts of worthlessness and anxiety. For me, the weight room is the medicine that cures these ills. As anyone with a chronic illness or disability knows, missing just one dose of a medication can have profoundly negative effects.

It also must be noted that exercise is, quite simply, a healthy and productive use of one’s time. It’s certainly more beneficial for one’s vitality than tailgating, binge drinking, and passing out in the bleachers amidst overemotional sports fanatics.

There is a silver lining: the Rec Center has announced plans to try remaining open during a home game at least once this semester. As for every other game day, it will be shut down, along with on-campus activities and club events.

It is disheartening to realize that our school places money-magnet sports above the education and wellbeing of its students. But greed can be a powerful blinding agent, and the need to pay off the stadium as quickly as possible is only exacerbating that clouded vision. Hopefully, university officials will soon reach a happy medium, where home games can take place without disrupting the lives of those who would rather spend their weekends in other ways.

Lauren Willson can be reached at letters@collegian and online at @LaurenKealani