New app plugs students into the Wellness Center
By Cierra Mills
Wellness and Recreation released a new-and-improved app for gym goers to connect with others, check the Wellness Center’s occupancy, and receive information about classes and events.
The app is free to download – just search “USC Upstate Spartan Rec” in the app store. An email is required to sign up for an account.
Assistant Director of Fitness, Sarah Joseph explained her reasons for developing the new app in an interview.
What made you decide to develop a new app?
Sarah Joseph: I just noticed that a lot of people were having issues logging into the old one, so that was part of the reason. And then this new app – not only can people sign up for the Spartan-X Group Fitness classes on it, but they can check in to the facility, they can post on the Fit Feed if they’re looking for a workout buddy, or if they want to play some pickup basketball.
You can see how busy the facility is on there. So, if you go on the app, you can see… OK there’s four people in the weight room, it’s not too busy, I’m going to come work out. You can see our upcoming events on there and sign up for those. So, it has more capabilities than the old app did.
How is this app useful for students who are new to the Wellness Center?
SJ: I think that it’s sort of like our own little in-house social media platform. So, it can really bring people together because even if I don’t have a workout buddy, I can look for a workout buddy on there. Or, I can see… Sarah is lifting right now, let me go try and meet up with her. When you sign up for a class, it automatically prompts you to invite your friends that are on the app. So, if you sign up for the app and you look for all your friends on there, you guys can go to classes together. And same thing with the events. I don’t think a lot of people really know that we do seminars on how to properly use equipment in the weight room. Or nutrition, de-stressing, things like that.
The app is going to be a great platform for them to learn about these things that are going to help them not only improve their health, but even improve their overall life. Because to me, if you aren’t taking care of your health first, then it’s kind of hard to focus on your school and your relationships and everything else.
Because the gym is open to the community, does the community have access to the app?
SJ: We’re open to the community in a limited way. The community members that are members here are spouses of students, or family of students or faculty or staff. So, not just anybody can join but yes, anyone can download and create an account on the app.
Other than just exercise, what can the gym offer?
SJ: I am in charge of the Fitness area. Obviously, I’m going to be a proponent of our Group Fitness classes. Not only to become healthier, but to meet other friends maybe that you wouldn’t normally see in class. We do have a lot of commuters on campus, so the fitness center can be a point for them to build the connections. At the same time, we do have intramurals and aquatics – just more opportunities for students to come together.
On another note, and this is something that maybe most people don’t think about, we do employ a lot of students here. We try to give opportunities for professional development to those students – networking, customer service, so that they have that experience when they do go to their next step – whether that is in the fitness industry, or campus rec, or if it’s banking. They’re going to have that work experience.
We try to provide not only the health aspect, but also help students. Honestly, they run this place when we’re not around.
What is the most exciting aspect of the app, in your opinion?
SJ: For me, the most exciting aspect of the app is having a better way to create a community here at Upstate. A lot of people think my office is a closet, so it’s a good point of contact for me to reach out to students. People can ask me questions on there. It just makes that point of contact a lot easier.