Sound body, mind through campus recreation

By Sascha Rosin
Mattituck Junior-Senior High School
Within the air conditioned walls of SBU’s recreation center, many students and faculty of all ages and fitness levels regularly participate in multiple fitness classes and activities offered during the summer season to keep fit in a fun and healthy way.
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A visitor lifts weights at the campus recreation center. Photo by Alicia Renda.

A visitor lifts weights at the campus recreation center. Photo by Alicia Renda.

By Sascha Rosin
Mattituck Junior-Senior High School

In the heat of the humid Long Island summer, Stony Brook University students and faculty alike can be found sweating indoors.

Within the air conditioned walls of the Walter J. Hawrys Campus Recreation Center, more than 1,000 students and faculty of all ages and fitness levels regularly participate in multiple summer fitness activities to keep fit in a fun and healthy way. Cycle and spin classes, Zumba, boxing, volleyball pickup games and P90X classes are just some of the possible options that students and faculty can choose.

According to Justin Maggio, manager of student administration for Campus Recreation, summer classes are noticeably slower because of the smaller campus population, but classes are still just as energetic. “We promote ourselves as not only the physical place where that can be done, but also the mental and emotional place,” said Maggio. “We promote the idea of sound body, sound mind.”

Maggio takes part in a variety of classes alongside his fellow employees and students, including yoga — his personal favorite. “It’s a great way to get involved in your campus community,” he said. “It creates a culture of inclusivity.”

Even though classes are nearly twice as big in prime seasons such as fall and spring, they continue through the summer to keep the community active and interested in physical activities. “We want to be the fitness and wellness center for the whole campus community,” he said.

The recreation center is still a fairly new place on campus — it is only about four years old. Employees said that since the building was finished, participation in activities and health classes has doubled. According to Maggio, it has become an integral part of the Stony Brook community to both class takers and class teachers. The center also acts as the second biggest employment opportunity on campus, having about 200 jobs open to students.

One such student is Osama Khalil, an applied math and economics student in his junior year, who is also a Zumba instructor at the recreation center. “I enjoy teaching. I love the passion the students bring to the class,” he said with a smile. Khalil has just begun teaching classes in Stony Brook, but has been dancing for more than a year. “Being in the front of the room, it’s a completely different experience. I love doing it.”

A popular offering is the new Pink Gloves Boxing class, instructed by Carolena Trocchia, an undergraduate biology major. This is an all-female class, and plays a part in helping women take charge of their mental and physical health. The class has become one of the most popular, and also raises awareness for breast cancer.

Maggio said the class “promotes self-defense, fitness, well-being, as well as empowerment for a lot of the female student body who sometimes have a harder time getting engaged within fitness instruction.”

Stony Brook is slightly different from other Division I colleges in that the recreation center and sports club teams operate under Student Affairs and the Dean of Students instead of the Athletics Department. This helps the center cater more directly to their users’ needs and suggestions, Maggio said. “We are constantly under construction, trying to add new things. . . We want to provide as many services as we can.”

Students as well as staff are very enthused about summer workout opportunities in the air conditioning to bridge the gap between busy spring and fall classes. Christian Torres, a physical therapy major, frequents the weight room independently. He takes advantage of the new workout facilities to beat the hot summer heat.

“I like to stay active and keep my body in top physical form,” he said.

Alyssa Montalbano, a particle physics student, visits the Hawrys Rec Center regularly for cycling classes.

“It’s always good to be healthy,” she said.