This semester, the NYU Shanghai Qiantan campus finally opened with full expectations. The new campus not only has larger classrooms, but also includes a sports center with two gyms, exercise rooms, along with larger fitness centers and table tennis courts. However, students have voiced their concerns and dismays at the school’s decision to charge both students and faculty to use the sports center starting fall 2023. So far, many students have communicated unsatisfactory opinions towards the sports center. I have organized a survey to collect students’ opinions on this matter, as well as their comments.

This survey covers 64 students, 39 female and 25 male, with 60.9% freshmen, 32.8% sophomores and 6.3% seniors. Most of the students are either excited or look forward to the opening of sports facilities, and while many think that the sports facilities are nice, there are still some unsatisfactory areas. According to the survey results, about 18% of students think the sports facilities need a lot of improvement. 

Forms response chart. Question title: What was your expectation of the sports center before the campus opened?. Number of responses: 64 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: Now that we have returned to campus, what do you think of the sports facilities?. Number of responses: 64 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: Now that we have returned to campus, what do you think of the sports facilities?. Number of responses: 64 responses.

On the issues that prompted the most concern, fee charging,, 65.6% (42) of the students thought that the sports center should be 100% free, and only 3 students remained acceptive of the fees. For the 29.7% (19) of students who think that charging is acceptable but alterations should be done to the policy, 73.7% of them think the prices should be cut down to normal Chinese university levels. Among the other changes they want to see in sports facilities, 67.4% (41) of the students wish to see more facilities. 53.3% (36) of the students also suggest having more school-organized sports in and out of campus.

Forms response chart. Question title: What do you think of the fact that the school is charging for school sports facilities?. Number of responses: 64 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: If you want a cut down to the school's charging, what measures do you think is optimal?
. Number of responses: 19 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: If possible, what other changes would you like to see with the usage of school sports facilities?. Number of responses: 64 responses.

In addition to questions about the facilities, this survey also covered the exercising habits of NYU Shanghai students. 64.1% (41) of students do light exercises like walking and domestic chores for 2-5 hours a week, and 62.5% (40) of students do moderate exercise like cycling and yoga 1-3 hours a week. Less students participate in regular heavy exercise, with 45.3% (29) of the students doing heavy exercise like running, swimming and playing ball between 1-3 hours a week. Still, we see that 21.9% (14) of the students do not spend any time on these intensive physical activities.

Forms response chart. Question title: How much time do you spend on light exercise in a week? (Including slow walking or doing domestic chores). Number of responses: 64 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: How much time do you spend on moderate exercise in a week? (Including cycling, frisbee, yoga). Number of responses: 64 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: How much time do you spend on heavy exercise in a week? (Including running, swimming, dancing, ball games). Number of responses: 64 responses.

I included a section in the survey where students could leave suggestions and concerns. The biggest concern is that students want the school to treat each sport with the same importance, by sparing more space for badminton and volleyball at the gym instead of overlapping with basketball. Students also ask for an extended opening time for the gym, along with dimmer lights to make a more comfortable environment. There are also complaints that the sports facilities do not meet standard regulations. For example, the basketball hoops are too high, and the table-tennis courts are too small and do not provide a closed space, which makes the balls bounce everywhere in the corridors. 

*Disclaimer: At the time this article was written, our school had not given any updates from the Athletics & Fitness Center. Today, on March 20, 2023, NYU Shanghai Athletics & Fitness Center sent out an email detailing that the main gym and auxiliary gym has been divided into basketball, volleyball and badminton courts. More information can be found in the email.

One student named Yangcheng commented, “The athletic atmosphere in our school is not good enough. But sports and exercises are a significant part of life for university students, which do good to students’ health and wellness. It is not acceptable to charge students fees for facilities each time, especially at this rate. It is a big hit on students’ enthusiasm and motivation.We should organize more sports events and provide sessions to students. Like sports meetings etc.” In Chinese universities, students have compulsory physical education exams every year to test basic physical abilities, and in most universities in Shanghai students are required to run 40 km (About 25 miles) per semester. This compulsory training at least guarantees that students can get a moderate amount of physical exercise but since NYU Shanghai does not have any physical education exams or classes like it, partaking in physical exercises have become individualized participations. Although NYU Shanghai’s sports team achieved very good performances, a big portion of students still lack physical exercise, which blocks their way to get a healthy body and relieve stress by exercising. 

There is a slogan that says: “Not healthy of all is no well-life for all.” Now that the sports center has been opened, it should be a good chance to promote students’ enthusiasm for exercise, not to wipe it out. Eliminating the fees can be the first step, and organizing group sports activities for students and holding sports meetings can come later. These school activities will bring huge improvements to students’ interests for sports and will promote the school’s atmosphere of sports and getting everyone evolved. Student’s concern about the sports center’s condition should also be taken into consideration to make a better experience for students. Hopefully, we can work together to promote a better way for everyone at NYU Shanghai to participate in sports.