Jared Green


Will benefits of a new Health and Wellness Center outweigh raise in student fees?

The Union Lot, one of the two proposed sites for the new Health and Wellness Center. Photo by Chris Crews
The Union Lot, one of the two proposed sites for the new Health and Wellness Center. Photo by Chris Crews

There is currently talk amongst UNC Charlotte officials of plans to create a new Health and Wellness Center. As many students have noticed (and voiced), there is a lack in available fitness facilities on campus.

When visiting the Fitness Center in the Student Activities Center (SAC), students will find a crowded space having long wait times to use equipment. This can make finding time to exercise extremely difficult for the average on-the-go college student.

Hopes are that after the renovations to Belk Gym, which are set to be completed by Fall 2015, some of the crowdedness will be alleviated.

Alternatively, Jim Hoppa, assistant vice chancellor for Student Activities and Recreation, says, “with good facilities, utilization will increase.”

An increase in utilization, along with our university’s rapidly increasing enrollment, means that even with the reopening of Belk Gym, fitness facilities may continue to be overused and often overcrowded. With such a need for additional fitness space, the solution is just to build more facilities, right? Well, unfortunately, the solution is not that simple.

The construction process for new facilities involves a thorough process which must be completed before architects and engineers are even hired to draft blueprints.

A decision for a project, once approved by university officials, must go through the Board of Trustees to be approved. If they approve, the project is submitted to a Board of Governors for their additional approval.

According to Hoppa, “[The decision] becomes a matter of politics … If the public sees us using this money to build these new facilities, they might say that the money should go to build new academic buildings.”

Thus, the board of trustees and the board of governors must be careful in making approval of such a large expenditure.

Even if the project was to be approved, much budgetary work would have to be done to make it fiscally feasible. Hoppa explained that money and resources would need to be “moved around” from place to place, project to project, in order to finance a new center.

Though it would be an arduous process to undertake, the project still is on the table because it is a need of high importance for the university community.

“The university understands that there is a need, a high need, for [more fitness facilities],” said Hoppa, “Our facilities are completely overwhelmed, they are too crowded. They are not offering what [people] need in a facility.”

With the recognition of this need, the matter is not “if” facilities should be built, but “when” they should be built.

“The issue comes down to funding; it will obviously cause an increase in costs to students,” Hoppa said.

The proposed project would cause a projected increase of around $75-100 in existing student fees. Hoppa expressed that while this may not be much to some students, other students are already struggling and this would only add to their financial difficulties associated with obtaining a higher education. He expressed how university officials are striving to make a decision in the best interest of all students.

The university is certainly taking student input into account to determine when they will move forward with the project. They are working closely alongside students using tools such as student surveys to get their opinions.

The university is also working with the Student Government Association (SGA), which has already voiced its support for the project, to get a feel for what student popular opinion is on the matter.

Though student input is an important determining factor, it is only one of many factors that will determine when such an endeavor will take place. Numbers must be crunched and further approval must be sought before this project becomes concrete.

In regards to possible on-campus locations for the new Health and Wellness Center, two locations have been discussed. The first location would be where the current Union Lot is located, at the corner of Craver Road and Alumni Way. The second location is where the old Facilities Management office is located, at the corner of Craver Road and Mary Alexander Road.

SGA Update – Sept. 4

The following is the summary of the Sept. 4 meeting of the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Student Senate.

New ITS Assistant Vice Chancellor greets congregation

The senate began business by welcoming Beth Rugg, assistant vice chancellor of client engagement for Information Technology Services (ITS). Rugg has only been with the university for a few months. She introduced herself to the counsel and encouraged senators as well as students to feel free to communicate IT problems and concerns to the ITS department.

A movement was made to add to the agenda the possible creation of a senate IT secretary. A similar position already exists on the Executive Panel. The creation of a senate IT secretary would allow for more interaction between the ITS department and the senate of the SGA.

Bill for new senate committee on agenda

Senator John Daley introduced a bill for the creation of a senate Traditions Committee. The committee would work to create and uphold traditions of UNC Charlotte’s sporting ventures, especially those of our new football program which began last year. The bill was added to the agenda.

Empty senate seats

The idea of what to do with empty senate seats was also discussed in the meeting. The possibility of filling seats after senate elections with candidates that were not elected but that display great interest in being involved in the senate was introduced.

Parking concerns

The problem of ‘hard-to-find-parking’ was also discussed in the meeting.  The idea of installing parking fullness indicators outside parking garages on campus was laid down for discussion. This would help to minimize circling parking garages to find an empty space. Gary Caton, Parking and Transportation Services director, was said to be looking into this option.

Expanding DB options

Another idea introduced to put on the agenda was the idea of expanding declining balance (DB) options to restaurants in the university area.

Grants disbursed to student organizations

A bill to approve the disbursement of funds totaling $5,715.08 to various student organizations was also approved by the senate.

New Student Organization Bill approved

A bill was approved to create several new student organizations. Press Start, an organization that welcomes students who have a passion for video games and an interest in Japanese culture was approved. Also on the bill was the creation of a UNC Charlotte chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). 

The NAACP strives to promote human rights and equality in and around the Charlotte area and also in the global community. Lastly approved was the organization, Pretty Business. Pretty Business is a club for future businesswomen and is geared to develop business and entrepreneurial talents.

Temporary chairperson nomination

A temporary chairperson for the senate Committee on Organizational Ways and Means is being selected. Senator Spencer Kwolyk was nominated for the position.

Well worth the noise

Currently, renovations are underway at the Colvard building (in case you do not know which building that is, it is the one missing a few walls). Construction began on June 23 of this year and has a projected finish date of Dec. 19.

Photo by: Chris Crews
Photo by: Chris Crews

During construction, not only will the offices in Colvard be rearranged to suit a better layout, but they will also be receiving a much anticipated facelift. Several departments have temporarily been moved to Atkins Library for the duration the construction process. 

“The primary goal of the renovation is to consolidate some of the most frequented student academic services into one convenient area – the University Center for Academic Excellence, Minority Academic Services, University College and the University Advising Center,” said Director of the University Advising Center Henrietta Thomas.

Though there are some inconveniences with their new office location, Thomas is eagerly anticipating the new office suite coming to Colvard. “Although the interim space the Advising Center currently occupies has its challenges (i.e., students have a hard time finding us), having the new space will be well worth it,” she said.

In addition to office remodels, Colvard will also receive new computer labs, learning labs and conference rooms. Several of the exterior walls have also been torn down to allow for the instillation of windows, which will vastly increase the amount of natural light throughout the building. 

With all of the heavy construction taking place on an academic building, concerns have been raised over the noise problems associated with the renovations. In light of construction, the Department of Facilities Management is working hard to prevent any disturbances that may be caused to students, faculty and staff in Colvard and the surrounding area.

 “Managing any disruption that comes with the necessary renovation work is a strong priority,” said Shelly Theriault, communications officer with the Department of Facilities Management. 

Photo by: Chris Crews
Photo by: Chris Crews

A meeting was held in May of this year between the construction manager and building occupants to discuss construction benefits and necessary relocations. The construction manager is additionally coordinating a working schedule with instructors and occupants of Colvard including dates for noisier construction work so that plans can be made accordingly. In addition, an exam schedule from instructors is being shared with the contractor so that noise interference can be kept to a minimum during that time specifically. 

Demolition of another large exterior wall is also a concern in regards to the level of noise that will be produced. 

“The option of performing demolition of the concrete wall … at night is also being actively explored. A final answer on that will be received soon,” said Theriault.

Though construction at Colvard has its inconveniences, the Department of Facilities Management encourages students and faculty to bear with construction and welcomes them to communicate concerns. 

“We will continue to closely communicate with Colvard building occupants and find solutions to any issues as quickly as possible during this time. Ultimately, we look forward to providing new learning and working spaces that reflect the high standards of our University’s scholarship and research activities,” said Theriault.

For more information regarding construction, contact The Department of Facilities Management at 704-687-0562 or visit facilities.uncc.edu

For locations of displaced offices, contact the respective department directly or via their web page.

Student photography exhibit captures a shot of experiences abroad

​The Niner International Study Abroad Photo Exhibit opened on Monday, April 28, with its opening ceremony being held Tuesday, April 29 in the Student Union Art Gallery. The exhibit will be open through Friday, May 9. This is the event’s fifth year at UNC Charlotte and is hosted by the Office of Education Abroad.

​Each year, students who have studied abroad within the past year submit photographs they have taken. A panel of five judges vote for the top three photos from four different categories to be displayed at the event. The judges also choose ten honorable mention photos for each category be displayed in the exhibit. The four categories are “Defining Moment,” “Portrait,” “Self Portrait” and “Landscape.”

​The event is held annually to give UNC Charlotte students insight as to what education abroad can teach them.

​“Study abroad exposes you to a world you can’t necessarily get at UNC Charlotte,” said Elizabeth Lorenz, assistant director for the Office of Education Abroad.

​“Study abroad opens new academic worlds and business worlds to students as well as allowing them to build friendships,” said Lorenz

​The event allows students to use photography as a creative means to tell the story of their travels.

“We get to see what captures students’ imaginations…we get to see the world through their eyes.” said Brad Sekulich, director of the Office of Education Abroad.

Julian Griffee and Joshua Kaufman are UNC Charlotte students who studied abroad in London in spring 2013. The two friends decided that while on their spring break from Kingston University in London, they would go backpacking across Europe. They traveled to twelve different countries in just eighteen days.

“Almost every day we were in a new city or new country.” commented Griffee, a senior whose photo came in second place in the best portrait category.

Their trip was for the most part unplanned, and spontaneously led them all over Europe.

“We would book a hostel, go get on their wifi, and then find out where we were going to go the next day,” said Kaufman, also a UNC Charlotte senior.

When asked what the best part of studying abroad was, Griffee commented, “Just being there…you learn so much.”

This year nearly 600 UNC Charlotte students are part of the study abroad program, the most ever The program has ever had. To learn more about the exhibit or about studying abroad, visit the Office of Education Abroad’s website at http://edabroad.uncc.edu/.

End of semester film festival to reel in cinema fans

UNC Charlotte’s first annual Gold Reel Film Festival will be taking place on Tuesday, April 29. The event will be held at 6 p.m. in McKnight Hall.

The film festival will highlight five different categories of film: short narrative, long narrative, animation and experimental, music, and documentary.

At the festival, the top three screenplay submissions will be performed live for the audience by a group of actors.

In total, there were around 102 submissions made for the festival this year.

“The majority came from (UNC Charlotte) students, but we also reached out to the Charlotte area and to the seven other UNC schools for submissions,” said Andrew Watkins, president of the UNC Charlotte film club.

“We actually received quite a number of submissions from UNC Greensboro,” he added.

A panel of three individuals came together to judge submissions for film entries while a panel of two judges assessed screenplay submissions. The judges consist of UNC Charlotte instructors and field professionals. Both panels sifted through the videos and
screenplays to pick the top three and top five films for each category.

These finalists will be presented during the festival. Awards will be given to the top submission from each of the categories. There will also be an award for the best overall video submission and a viewer’s choice award.

The Gold Reel Film Festival is organized entirely by students and is hosted by the UNC Charlotte Film Club. For more information about the event or for more information on the film club, click here.

EPIC receives grant to develop new curriculum for ever changing power grid


Please note that in the paper issue of the article, it says it was written by Claire Dodd. This is an error; it was written by Jared Green. 

UNC Charlotte’s Energy Production & Infrastructure Center (EPIC), along with three other universities and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), have recently been chosen as recipients of a shared grant to develop a targeted curriculum for workforce development in the energy sector. This grant comes from the Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment (GEARED) program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

UNC Charlotte, Georgia Tech, Clarkson University and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez will be sharing a $6.5 million grant that will be dispersed over the course of five years.

According to Dr. Badrul Chowdhury, UNC Charlotte engineering professor and principal investigator, this grant will be used to develop a new curriculum to train students and current engineers alike. “It will mostly be used for offering courses that the students are interested in areas of distributed technologies,” said Chowdhury.

Distributed technologies refers to the new direction the energy sector is taking. With small-scale power production being so easily accessible, electric power production for the energy grid is being reconstituted and is seeing more decentralized methods of production and distribution.

This basically means that more people are beginning to generate their own power-using renewable resources rather than purchasing it from a power distributor. Thus, energy production and distribution is gradually moving away from its centralized form to a more distributed form.

“We are now beginning to see a paradigm shift in the power delivery model […] there is a new concept of how you design power generation and distribution,” commented Chowdhury.

Although there are more people converting to distributed technologies, EPIC director Dr. Johan Enslin believes the key to the future of the energy structure lies in integration rather than revolution. “We still need centralized production and distribution, but we will see more decentralized. We have to figure out how to make the two work together in terms of safety and efficiency,” said Enslin.

The new curriculum EPIC hopes to develop will train students and current engineers to be familiar with this coming change in the power grid. EPIC hopes to develop new curriculum for their undergraduate, graduate and PhD programs.

“There are a lot of new models to be understood, that is what this (grant) is about,” explained Enslin.

To learn more about EPIC and their events, visit www.epic.uncc.edu

Cone Plaza hopes to create new hangout spot for students and staff

If you walk past the Cone University Center, you can clearly see fences sanctioning off the construction area around what will be the renovated Cone plaza. The area has been closed for nearly two years due to lasting construction, but by the summer of 2014, construction is said to be complete.

The original plaza outside Cone was built in 1974 along with the addition of McKnight Hall. It featured a large wooden deck space that students frequented. Common events included concerts and ice cream events.

“It used to be the real hang out place for students,” said Donna Merck, associate director of operations for the Cone Center.

The updated plaza will feature new brickwork and landscaping to tie in with the architectural style of the rest of campus. The space will include new outdoor furniture and trees to create a tranquil outdoor space for students and staff.

According to Merck, the groundskeeping department will be doing the final landscaping once planting season begins.

These much needed renovations come just after the Cone Center’s 50th anniversary, which was celebrated this past fall. With the newly renovated plaza reopening, old traditions will hopefully return to the Cone Center.

“We envision lots of outdoor activities for students like ice cream events and picnics… We can even bring out a portable stage for concerts,” commented Merck. “We want this to be used as a hang out place where everyone wants to meet.”

In addition to the cosmetic renovations, the foundation below the plaza has been undergoing renovations as well. Underneath the plaza is a loading dock that serves the Cone Center and McKnight Hall.

The water membrane beneath the plaza had worn down leading to a leak into the loading dock area below. This caused some of the structural beams to weaken.

Contractors are going in to reinforce these beams and also redo the waterproofing.

Contractors have ran into one problem with demolition. The carcinogen causing building material asbestos has been found while workers were undergoing demolition. The contractors are currently trying to work around it to ensure the safety of workers and permanent removal.

“Go. Don’t worry, don’t look back. Just go”

Gonzalez 2Eric Gonzalez is a former UNC Charlotte student who decided to take his degree beyond the borders of this country and set out to explore the world.

Gonzalez spends his days “village hopping” as he calls it. He has traversed 31 countries in the last seven years since graduating from UNC Charlotte in 2007 with a degree in political science and a minor in Russian.

Gonzalez encourages students to travel, as it is a valuable experience that teaches multiple lessons.

According to Gonzalez, learning new languages has been one of his best experiences. He said that new languages make you think in new and different ways.

Gonzalez also believes traveling allows you to gain consciousness of other various people and cultures.

Gonzalez has made many new friends while traveling abroad and values these relationships.

“When you make friends in other countries, you start caring about that country and its well being just like your own,” said Gonzalez.

For Gonzalez, traveling comes as first-nature. “At this point I can go to a country with nothing; no map, no information, no money, and I can succeed easily. But that’s because I have a lot of experience exploring the new,” he said.

“I know that if I ask someone for help, they will help me. I know that if I want a job, all I have to do is look. The world is overflowing with jobs for qualified people.”

UNC Charlotte graduates holding a bachelor’s degree are in the top five percent of the world’s most educated people, he says.

While traveling, Gonzalez has survived on a budget of about $3 a day. Most of this money pays for his food. For lodging, he usually stays with friends, fellow hitch hikers and sometimes complete strangers.

Gonzalez’s primary method of transportation abroad has been hitch hiking. In an NPR interview, Gonzalez commented how this process seems intimidating, but in truth is very easy.

“You know I was skeptical, I thought it would be difficult, and then when I went to Thailand; I started going from city to city … All you have to do is go to some place where people can see you; the best places are gas stations where you can talk to (people), hold your thumb out, and people will pick you up!”

Gonzalez currently lives in China working as a consultant to modernize China’s social services. He also teaches economics at a high school there.

In his spare time he likes to write, work on his blog and take care of his newborn son.

“Experiencing the world will change you. You will learn that the way you live and the things you take for granted are not the only way life must be lived,” said Gonzalez.

He has learned much by experiencing other cultures first hand and encourages students to follow in his footsteps, learning new ways to experience life.

“Go. Don’t worry, don’t look back, just go. The world is amazing and it will change you. I’ve spent seven years abroad now, and I will keep spending my life abroad … I do it because I enjoy it, because it’s exciting and adventure is around every corner,” he said.

To learn more about Gonzalez’s travels, visit his travel blog at www.yourworldyourhome.com.

Building projects on campus work to limit carbon footprint

With construction in full swing on campus comes a large amount of building materials that must be purchased, which can leave a large carbon footprint. Thankfully UNC Charlotte remains conscious of the environment by creating a program to reduce the environmental impact of construction.

The Construction and Demolition Recycling program has been put in place to recycle extra building materials and worksite debris that otherwise go into landfills. The program encourages contractors to be more efficient and to cut down on the amount of building materials they use.

Contractors must already be in compliance with state statutes regarding reducing waste on construction sites. In addition to the mandatory compliances, the building plans for UNC Charlotte projects also include certain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirements that contractors must follow. Projects are awarded more “points” the more environmentally friendly they are, in turn receiving more prestigious LEED certification.

According to Shannon Caveny-Cox, Construction and Demolition Recycling program manager, contractors are usually very compliant with the procedures set forth in the program.

“Contractors send us reports monthly. Most are able to recycle 85 percent of materials,” said Caveny-Cox.

Some of the recycled materials include brick, PVC piping, drywall and shingles. These materials can be turned into a multitude of new products including roadway aggregate, rain gutters and electricity cables.

Some of the building materials are donated to Habitat for Humanity’s Restore. In demolition projects, contractors remove all objects that are not static from a building. After that, Habitat for Humanity workers are allowed to appraise the building and remove any materials they can reuse.

This program, along with UNC Charlotte’s recycling program, are focused on making the community more environmentally conscious.

According to Caveny-Cox, “The program encourages [contractors] to think more about the end result.”

For more information on the Construction and Demolition Recycling program, visit https://facilities.uncc.edu/our-services/business-related-services/recycling/programs/construction-and-demolition.

North Carolina teachers converge for annual seminar series

The Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) is preparing once again for their annual seminar series beginning in April.

The CTI is a partnership among teachers from Davidson College, UNC Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). In these lecture series, instructors from Davidson College and UNC Charlotte conduct seminars for k-12 teachers from CMS.

Each seminar is lead by a faculty instructor from either UNC Charlotte or Davidson College.

These instructors are content specialists in their own areas, teaching seminars ranging from literary techniques to artificial intelligence.

This year there are four instructors from UNC Charlotte conducting seminars.

The instructors are: Paula Connolly, English department; Heather Perry, history department; Alan Rauch, English department and Amy Ringwood, biology department.

Each seminar is scheduled to meet 12 times between the months of April and November.

The seminar series is designed for CMS teachers who want to gain a more intensive insight for the subject area that they teach.

“The CTI empowers teachers to be creative and innovative instructors,” said Scott Gartlan, CTI executive director.

Teachers from CMS apply to be fellows in the program and attend one of the lecture series. This year there are around 104 teacher fellows attending from CMS.

The 104 fellows are spread equally across all grade levels.

“There are about one-third elementary school teachers, one-third middle school teachers and one-third high school teachers in the program, creating a cross grade level dynamic,” said Gartlan.

The CTI is designed to allow teachers to collaborate with each other, encouraging innovation that they can use in developing their curriculum.

CTI Director Scott Gartland feels teachers have gotten a bad reputation lately.

“There is a problem in North Carolina with the way teachers are viewed,” said Gartlan.

He went on to explain how teachers are deep thinkers, and how they are not respected in this regard.

The CTI hopes to change this view with their model, proving that teachers are innovative and caring educators.

The CTI is modeled after the Yale National Initiative, an organization that focuses upon strengthening public education by sponsoring new teachers’ institutes nationally.

Usually, there are around six teachers per year from the CTI who travel to Yale to attend seminars for the Yale National Initiative.

The CTI says they hope to see teachers’ institutes popping in other places around the country as well. Recently, UNC Asheville and Queens University in South Charlotte have expressed interest in becoming a part of this national initiative.

For more information on the CTI, visit http://charlotteteachers.org/.

Campus master plan continues as East Village introduces Phase 12 Residence Hall

The Phase XII Residence Hall project is well under way as can be seen by the current progress of the building. This residence hall, which will be dedicated as Martin Hall, is scheduled to open for student occupancy in fall 2014.

The structure will be approximately 175,000 square feet and will feature 101 four-bedroom apartments.

This is one of the first projects for East Village laid out in the campus master plan.

The East Village sector plan covers 32 acres and as quoted in a recent construction report by the UNC Charlotte Department of Business Affairs will accommodate, “new residence halls, a new convocation center, an evaluation of an existing dining facility, parking, relocation of existing greenhouses, recreation fields and infrastructure to support the improvements.”

The project’s contractor, Holder Construction, reported that construction work was nearly two weeks behind as of December.

A plan to recover lost time by extending working hours was submitted.

Initially the report stated that there was no funding source specified for the roughly $42 million project. However Brian Kugler, the project manager, has certified that the project is being funded “as part of ‘phase two’ of the campus infrastructure development project.”

The Division of Business Affairs for the Department of Facilities Management currently has plans in place for multiple new residence halls as well as infrastructure and renovation projects.

The Residence Hall Phase XII and XIV projects are in their design and planning stages respectively.

The Phase XIII project will be constructed where Hunt Village used to be located near Holshouser Hall.

Phase XIV is still in design and will be constructed adjacent to Sanford Hall.

Current plans for the Phase XIV residence hall suggest its use for housing for honors program and Levine Scholar students.

According to Kugler, who is also the project manager for the Phase XIV Residence Hall, “The project is early in design, with construction expected to begin in the spring of 2015 for a fall 2016 opening.”

For more information on upcoming construction projects, visit the Facilities Management website and click on the “Construction Information” tab.

One Billion Rising looks to raise awareness of gender violence through creative means

On Wednesday, Feb. 26, UNC Charlotte will be hosting an event in honor of the One Billion Rising movement. This is an annual campaign that calls for people to advocate on behalf of gender based violence and inequality.

The campaign was named One Billion Rising to advocate for the one in three women that will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. This number equates to a little over one billion women.

This is the 15th year that this campaign is being lead. The event is sponsored by the Department of Global, International and Area Studies (GIAS) and also by the Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights (HGHR) Studies. The event has also received promotion through the History Department and Women and Gender Studies Department.

Another on-campus group that is sponsoring the event is the UNC Charlotte Amnesty International Group. This group organizes lectures, screenings and petitions to advocate global issues to students.

The event will focus on advocating gender rights and violence through creative means such as poetry, video and music. Kate Galindo, an UNC Charlotte student and the organizer of the event, hopes that the creative means will provide an engaging experience to get the word out on issues of gender violence and inequality.

Galindo hopes that the creative multi-media presentations and performances will be more alluring to students and create a precedent for the way advocacy is presented on campus.

“I’ve been to lectures where a speaker will talk about an issue…they can be a little dry,” said Galindo.

“This incorporates great speakers, videos and music. It creates a more vibrant atmosphere to learn about these things,” said Galindo.

Galindo became interested in these issues after taking an HGHR course where she learned about the Half the Sky movement, which was based off of a multi-media project advocating gender violence.

“The fact that I’m a woman draws me to [gender rights issues] because most gender violence acts happen to women,” said Galindo.

According to Galindo, the best part of organizing the event has been “getting to see that people were interested”. She was happy to find other students and faculty who cared about these issues and wanted to help with the event.

The “One Billion Rising” event will be held Wednesday February 26 from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 p.m. in the Cone building, room 111. More information on the event can be found at: http://campusevents.uncc.edu/event/6488.

Recreational Services motivates 49ers with National Recreational Sports Day

rec services
Photo by Chris Crews

National Recreational Sports Day will be celebrated at UNC Charlotte on Monday, Feb. 24. This event is celebrated at different universities and colleges across the United States.

“The purpose of this event is to take a day to recognize recreation at universities,” said Kemet Gatchell, assistant director of promotions and special events for the Department of Recreational Services at UNC Charlotte.

This event is organized through the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). NIRSA strives to encourage and promote recreation at the collegiate level in order to promote healthy lifestyles in all communities.

The event is celebrated annually on Feb. 22, although this year UNC Charlotte will be celebrating it on Feb. 24, the following Monday. This event will take place in the Student Activity Center from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The day will be focused around several displays of recreational sports including intramural rock climbing, a TRX group workout demo, a softball demo as well as other intramural and club sports that will be showcased.

The disc golf club will be one of the club sports in attendance and will have a hole set up so people can try their hand at the sport. The table tennis club will also be setting up a display for students.

Sports clubs and teams will be showcased in hopes to encourage students to get active and get involved in campus recreation.

Local vendors will be catering the event such as Boardwalk Billy’s and Cici’s Pizza. The event and food are free to all UNC Charlotte students. The first 125 students in attendance will also receive a free National Recreational Sports Day T-shirt customized for UNC Charlotte.

According to Gatchell, this event serves to “make people aware of what [Recreational Services] is doing.”

Gatchell explained that Recreational Services promotes the healthy lifestyles of students.

The Department of Recreational Services is in charge of intramural sports, campus fitness centers located in Belk Gym and the SAC, sport clubs and annual events such as the 49er Gold Rush 5K run.

Another important aspect of this department would be the job opportunities they offer to students. They sponsor an annual $4,000 scholarship to students who hold a part-time job and are involved with the Department of Recreational Services.

To find out more about the opportunities offered by the Department of Recreational Services, visit their website by clicking here. You can also call their office located in Belk Gym 222, at 704-687-0430.

Campus construction, Belk Gym reported to start renovations in May 2014

Most of Belk Gym’s renovations will take place in the level below the main floor. With all of the new additions, it’s reported that there will be a gym located there as well. Photo courtesy of C. Design Inc.

Belk Gym is planned to undergo extensive renovations to bring its facilities up to date. The building, built in 1970, is the school’s original gym and, since then, has seen a fair share of sporting events, exercise and sportsman-like camaraderie. The building is also home to the Department of Kinesiology and the Department of Recreational Services.

Construction will not affect activities or classes this semester as renovations are planned to begin May 19, 2014, just after graduation and commencement ceremonies.

The building will be closed during the next academic school year as the construction is planned to take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. It’s reported that the building is reported to reopen in the fall of 2015.

Students can expect to be surprised when the renovation is complete, as Belk Gym will see some much needed structural and cosmetic improvements.

A new lobby, entrance plaza and building facade will resurrect the once state-of-the-art facility, bringing it into the modern era. New staircases will be efficient for traffic flow.

“Architecturally, the best building features are the transparent open lobby and vestibule spaces both on the main and upper levels,” said Donia Schauble, the project manager for the building’s renovations. Schauble also mentioned how new lighting and finishes would liven up the visual appearance of the building.

While closed, the floor in Belk Gym’s gymnasium will be resurfaced and new lines will be painted. The gymnasium, as well as the rest of the building, will also have a new HVAC system to regulate the climate of the building.

Unfortunately, the pool will be closed during renovations. This means several activities that take place in the pool area such as Venture’s kayak roll clinics will be displaced until renovations are complete.

A new administrative office suite will be built for the Department of Recreational Services as well as the Department of Kinesiology. In addition, new classrooms, labs and a new lecture hall will be constructed

The building will see a new 8,000 square foot fitness center which will include a free weight room and group fitness rooms. New programs offered by Recreational Services will include expanded personal trainer and fitness assessment services.

The Department of Recreational Services hopes that the new features of the building will expand and diversify students’ fitness options.

“We hope to offer more types of classes as well as more time slots, to give students more opportunities to find a place for Group Fitness in their busy schedules,” said Hans Kaufmann, associate director for operations for the Department of Recreational Services.

The rescheduling of events that take place in Belk Gym is still a bit of a challenge. “When you figure out what will happen to the activities and classes that take place in Belk Gym, do let the rest of us know,” added Student Activity Center Director Nina Simmons.

The department of Recreational Services, the Kinesiology Department and the SAC have been working with reservations to find a place for all of Belk Gym’s activities.

Some of the Kinesiology Department’s classes will be moved to the group fitness room in the SAC; others will be moved to various buildings around campus.

The SAC will experience more crowding as many of the events that normally take place in Belk Gym will be moved into the SAC. “We are asking students to be patient. The SAC will be more crowded but things will be better when the renovations are complete,” said Kaufmann.

To accommodate the crowding in the SAC, its business hours will be extended. While renovations are taking place, it will open at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday.

To find out more about the construction project, click here or  contact Facilities Management Capital Projects at 704-687-0615.