Fear crowded gyms no more.
LSA senior Lakshman Mulpuri and Rackham student Trevis Harrold, Central Student Government representatives, recently launched a program through the University of Michigan app that allows students to view how many people are currently in the Recreational Sports facilities, as well as what equipment is being used.
The model is very similar to one of the app’s features that tracks how full dining halls are. Mulpuri and Harrold worked with College of Engineering students and Information and Technology Services to create the program and add it to the official University app.
The representatives said CSG made a donation to the recreation buildings to buy iPads. Then, every half hour, recreation employees walk around the building and count how many people are using the equipment.
“It gives you a sense of how busy (the gym) is,” Mulpuri said. “It tells you how many people are in each room, lifting, running, swimming is actually on there too, the lounges, the racquetball courts. At the top of the app, it’ll also say what time it’s been updated at, and it’s really useful because a lot of students have told me that this is something that they’d like.”
Mulpuri added this was a project he and Harrold been trying to work on for a while, and they had to go through multiple meetings with managers and faculty at different centers to have it implemented.
Harrold said he was proud to see the application running after their hard work.
“It was a really long process, even getting the money allocated to different (recreation) centers, we were very involved with that, but it was good to see it actually usable and working,” Harrold said.
The program can be accessed through the University app from the Student Life tab and is currently collecting data from the Central Campus Recreational Building, the North Campus Recreational Building and the Intramural Sports Building.
“I think it’s a really useful app, people love it,” Mulpuri said. “Right now, it’s still in its preliminary stages, but once we start getting it up to speed, having people doing it regularly, it’ll be more effective. We just want people to realize that the things we do will hopefully be here for a while, even though we’ll be graduating soon.”
LSA freshman Julia Lawson liked the idea of the app, tying the idea back to her coursework and talking about how this data could be collected and used to develop additional programs that could improve people's health.
“I go to the gym a lot, so I think it would be really helpful to know what’s going to be there for me so I don’t have to wait to get the equipment that I want,” Lawson said. “I think apps like this are a really good idea. I’m in School of Information classes right now and we always talk about how more information has the risk of being better or worse, but in this case, I think it could be really helpful to people and their health.”