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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Caden Sierra
Caden Sierra
Sports Writer

Hey. My name is Caden and I'm from the Chicagoland area.  I'm currently going into my 3rd year at NMU.  I'm a multimedia production major with a double minor in journalism and criminal justice. For as...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

PEIF staff makes most out of disheartening pandemic

Photo courtesy of Tricia Bush PUSHING THROUGH THE PANDEMIC—Despite having to stay closed longer and through many regulations, the PEIF and its staff are doing its best to ensure that visitors are safe and still get a good workout.

A sigh of collective relief was seen throughout the state of Michigan in the past week as gyms that previously were still closed were allowed to open on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 25% capacity as a part of the newest state order issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Luckily for NMU and the local area, gyms have already been open. The PEIF opened up on Aug. 3, and since that time, there haven’t been a lot of changes at Northern.

“There really hasn’t been a change. When we did start, we started with 25% as well. The 25% has been there since the beginning, it’s just that the universities and all of the gyms in all regions except six and eight just get to open now,” Associate AD-Recreation Tricia Bush said.

Currently, as things stand, the PEIF capacity is 50, the dance studio is at 20, the pool is 19 and the Fit Zone is at 10 in the workout area and eight in classes, Bush said. The capacity might’ve not changed, but it’s still a learning curve for campus recreation to keep going forward with an important aspect not being available at this time.

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“The PEIF is open to all members, we did shut off selling day passes, we did shut off selling your group punch pass. Basically what we had to do was take the social aspect out of the rec center, which is normally what we live for, and create that hangout space,” Bush said. “We had to remove that and make it, ‘you come in, you workout and you leave’ just for the safety aspect of everyone.”

In terms of the procedures that the PEIF staff and members are following, Bush is hopeful that if everyone follows the guidelines that the university is set for safety and if numbers stay low, that they can slowly open up more things, she said. The staff is trying its best to ensure that this happens.

“We have a scoreboard at the front desk which informs patrons of how many people are in the rec area and pool at any given time there may be a wait at times but we haven’t seen that wait be more than five minutes,” Campus Recreation and Fitness Manager Katie Moe said in an email. “We have staff constantly walking around the facility disinfecting, enforcing mask and cleaning equipment as well as ensuring our capacity is as accurate as possible.” 

The process of reopening has had many positive effects on the visitors that do choose to workout at NMU. If not anything else, this has felt somewhat normal to them, Bush said.

“I think that they were excited to get back in when we opened because they wanted to get back to a little bit of a normal routine. Although it doesn’t look the same, it was still part of their normal routine and their daily workout,” Bush said. “Just getting back to that after those long months between March and July, I think that helped out a lot of people as far as mental health and just that little bit of normalcy goes.”

Not only is this an exciting time for visitors, but for the staff as well. There’s been a lot of negativity surrounding COVID-19, but at NMU, both staff and visitors are trying to make the most out of it.

“I feel that having a campus rec center is vital to the success of all university students, faculty and staff. We know students that participate in rec programs are more likely to stay in school and have better grades, so even being open at a limited capacity we are still able to offer what we can and do it the best that we can for the time being,” Moe said. “It has truly been a joy to see so many return to the PEIF and Fit Zone.”

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