By Kelsey Donk, Staff Writer
Last Thursday night in the Anderson Gym weight room, about ten women gathered together in the name of creating an equal opportunity workout space at Kalamazoo College. Despite their group’s small size, the message of “Occupy the Weight Room” sparked conversation among K College students about the use of space and workout times.
After discussing with friends the problem of gender disparities in the weight room, Cathy A. Oldershaw (K’12) created a Facebook page for “Occupy the Weight Room,” an event she said she hoped would be an opportunity for women to gather together.
“We want to encourage women to use this space,” Oldershaw said, “women should feel comfortable using it at any time.” At the event, men and women discussed whether or not the weight room set-up allows the genders to interact.
“This weight room fits the needs for everyone,” Weight Room Attendant Cameron S. Goodall (K’15) said. Goodall explained that the left side of the weight room is typically considered a more male-dominated section because men on athletic teams often use the free weights there. “I don’t usually see men spotting women over there,” he said.
While exercising during the event, soccer player Alex J. Ducoffe (K’13) said he wondered whether the wall dividing the two sides of the gym is the problem. “The facilities need to change,” Ducoffe said. He suggested a reorganization of the exercise machines to encourage people to interact. “There should be an equal amount of each type of machine on each side of the wall,” he said.
Assistant Football Coach and Weight Room Manager John Krajacic said that the current weight room set up is mostly for convenience. He said that the wall in the middle of the studio is probably there for a reason. “They did their homework on where they put what when they renovated in 2003,” he said.
Although the weight room set-up can’t be changed at present, event participants agreed that working out in groups of friends helps when exercising. “Women in the Weight Room,” a time for female students and faculty to have the weight room to themselves, takes place every Sunday from 3p.m. to 5p.m. and every Tuesday from 8:30p.m. to 10p.m.