Broncs get buff while staying safe at the SRC Bronc Barn

By Christian McCarville

At Rider, the Student Recreation Center (SRC) has always been a great place for students to stay fit and engage in a wide variety of activities, such as group exercise classes and yoga.

Also located within the SRC is the Schimek Family Fitness Center, which is consistently filled with students working out and completing various exercises.

Due to the many nationwide safety restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19, a large number of indoor establishments have been shut down or altered for the safety of consumers. This has made it very difficult for gym members to retain their fitness, as gyms are usually small, enclosed areas that could easily spread COVID-19 if not properly regulated.

As a result of these safety regulations, the Bronc Barn was born. Located behind the SRC, the Bronc Barn consists of two tents and a wide variety of workout equipment for students and faculty to use. This outdoor facility is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Brett Ashley Davis, the university’s fitness manager, commented on the creation of the Bronc Barn.

“Planning for how Rider would be able to offer SRC facilities and programming has been ongoing since the spring semester,” she said. “We had several scenarios in mind depending on what the state of New Jersey would allow. Our goal was always to be able to offer the most possible with a focus on the health and safety of the campus community. When outdoor gyms were permitted we quickly moved to have that in place for the start of the semester with the installation of the tents, the moving of equipment, and scheduling group exercise.”

In regard to student safety, there are several guidelines and regulations set in place at the Bronc Barn to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread. Students and faculty must make a reservation to use the Bronc Barn in advance, which prevents overcrowding and allows for more effective social distancing.

Junior accounting major Cory Mayo frequently visits the Bronc Barn to keep active.

“As someone who wasn’t big on going to the gym before quarantine, I honestly love how the gym is set up now,” said Mayo. “Setting reservation times lowers the capacity of who can be in the gym and crowded gyms were always a pain to be in.”

Those using the Bronc Barn must also wear masks when entering, exiting and moving between workout equipment. Only while safely using equipment may masks be removed.

Attendees are also asked to remain six feet apart from one another at all times.

“I’m really happy that the SRC created an outdoor space for students to come and exercise,” said junior business analytics major Kevin Buckland. “It’s been great and I feel totally safe there.”

One must also wipe down machines before and after utilizing them. There is a designated area for smaller equipment, such as weights and dumbbells, to be placed after use. This equipment will then be properly sanitized by staff members.

“The SRC staff has done an amazing job of keeping the weights sanitized,” said Mayo. “I clean the machines myself too after using them.”

The SRC continues to provide fitness related events for Rider students to take part in, while simultaneously keeping participants safe. These events include yoga, cycling and Zumba.

Special events are also held on Fridays as part of the SRC’s Fitness Friday program.

“Fitness Friday is a monthly fitness program that occurs on the first Friday of each month during the Fall and Spring semesters where we promote the SRC along with general fitness and wellness information,” said Davis. “We like to do regular incentive programs that motivate the campus community to use the gym and prioritize their overall health and wellness.”

The majority of these activities take place in outdoor settings and all participants are spread out to promote proper social distancing. Virtual options for certain events are also available. A detailed schedule of SRC events can be found on the Bronc Nation webpage.

New indoor opportunities may also arise for students due to newly announced state restrictions. This will be especially beneficial once the weather grows colder.

“Now that the state recently announced indoor gyms can open, we are planning how we will offer more exercise areas inside the SRC,” said Davis.

The Bronc Barn provides many opportunities for both students and faculty that are looking to stay in shape while also remaining protected from COVID-19. The SRC’s commitment to both fitness and safety is in an effort to decrease the transmission of the virus while enabling many to exercise and stay active.

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