Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

June 27, 2002


Explore options for faculty/staff use of The Pete

To the editor:

As a staff member who uses the facilities at Trees and Bellefield halls, I have several concerns about the University's severe decision regarding staff and faculty use of the Petersen Center recreation facility.

I encourage the University to explore options that would allow students, staff and faculty to share the facility. As students already pay recreation fees (bundled into their tuition) to support their use of the facility, it is only fair that staff and faculty be required to pay a comparable fee if they would like to use the facility. (This of course brings up the interesting conundrum of access for staff members who are also students and pay these same fees). I am a member of the Wellness Program, which enables staff and faculty to take selected aerobics classes for a yearly fee. Now that the University will be able to offer top notch aerobics facilities, staff and faculty personnel who are members of private gyms may be willing to pay comparable membership fees to have the convenience of working out on campus. If managed appropriately, a membership program could ensure maximum usage of the facility while generating revenue to keep the center in good condition. Similarly, I believe that staff would be pleased to be able to access the Petersen Center during limited hours: early mornings, lunch hour, and after work seem to be apt choices.

Faculty and staff use of Trees Hall should be no cause for celebration, as the chancellor suggests. Quite frankly, as someone who uses the facilities weekly, Trees is a dump. The weight machines are football team rejects (and very unwieldy for petite women to try to use safely and effectively) and there is only a small selection of aerobic machines (albeit a larger selection than Bellefield Hall has). During the summer, the dance studio is an unsafe environment for group aerobic activity. Without air conditioning, the temperature is easily in the range of 80-90 degrees before working out.

I agree with Professor [Herbert] Chesler's statement in the June 13, 2002, University Times: "To deny faculty and staff open access to this facility is an insult to us." The University needs to think more creatively about how the Petersen Center can best service staff and faculty without short-changing students.

Jennifer Rellis

Assistant Director Alumni Giving and

Donor Relations School of Medicine

Leave a Reply