Popularity of HPER programs leaves participants elbow to elbow

Heather Hall

Heather Hall

The HPER wellness classes are filling up, and unfortunately, the facilities are running out.

The classes that last semester took place in the dance studio have now been moved to the racquetball court. This includes step-aerobics and kickboxing.

“We all supposedly have to pay $50 to do this, and she’s [the instructor] had to turn away people,” aerobics participant Tacasa Vliem said.

Kickboxing is offered every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 p.m., and step-aerobics is offered from 5:15 to 6:30p.m.

The dance classes for the university have also been affected. The classes used to be held in the studio and are now being held in Frost Arena. Dance Instructor Melissa Hauschild-Mork teaches classes ranging from mulicultural classes to skills and rhythm classes.

“I work with the students over in theater too, after the [Performing Arts Center] is built, there will be a place for us to practice,” she said.

The cramped conditions make the classes a bit challenging, Vleim said.

“Girls are stepping on each other’s steps because they’re so close,” she said. “It’s kind of dangerous.”

Her roommate Katie Huls, who also attends the classes with her, agrees.

“We would be fine if we were back in that dance room where we were last year, even with all the equipment and everything there’s still more room in the dance studio,” Huls said.

The equipment to which she refers to has just been put in recently to start a program that the SDSU is setting up with Avera McKennan.

“Within the last year, the university came to an agreement with Avera McKennan to start the Peer Excelleration Program,” Rob Peterson, Assistant Athletic Director, said.

The money to buy the new equipment for the program and also for the weight room was purchased from a donation from Steve Heiden, a former student and now a tight end for the San Diego Chargers.

“We’ve hired Lee Munger to start API (Accelerated Products Inc.) and a new strength and conditioning coach,” Peterson said.

He said the eight-week enhancement program will benefit students and the Brookings community as well as athletes.

The price is separate from the fees that are paid for the HPER classes and will cost about $350 for that eight-week period. This rate is competitive with rates across the state, Peterson said.

The program will also help the student athletes too in the off season, and they will also be expected to pay for the program.

“We’re looking to get the program up and going by the first week of April,” Peterson said.

Even with these changes that will eventually benefit students, for the time being it is frustrating for those who pay monthly or per semester to attend the wellness classes and work out in such a small space.

Sometimes the class size gets up to 30 or more people, with the average still being around 20 to 30, Vliem said.

Huls said she is not as satisfied as she would like to be with the classes.

“I think it kind of distracts me. I feel like I’m not getting as good of a work out,” Huls said.

Other members from the community have also complained. Kevin King participates in kickboxing and has trouble.

“There are days when it’s just elbow to elbow and you can’t do the moves you’re supposed to do. You can’t get the full benefit out of it,” he said.

The students and members enjoy the space, but have a hard time dealing with the changes from last semester.

“It was three days a week last semester, now it’s two,” King said. ” I wish it was three days a week.”