During a recent run on the treadmill at the Central Campus Recreational Building, LSA junior Olivia Mariani watched the monitors mounted on the wall above her playing advertisements for programs and activities sponsored by the University’s Department of Recreational Sports.

The screens did not, however, deliver the long-awaited television programming for which they were intended since their installation four months ago.

Last year, the University spent $1.6 million to renovate fitness facilities on campus as part of a project spearheaded by E. Royster Harper, the University’s Vice President for Student Affairs. In order to determine how to best utilize the funds, studies were conducted to discover which upgrades would most appeal to students, including the installation of television screens last November in the exercise rooms at the CCRB, the Intramural Sports Building and the North Campus Recreational Building.

William Canning, director of Recreational Sports at the University, said in a Feb. 21 interview that the monitors are connected through computer software that provides television programing from the Internet, noting that building managers ultimately control what content plays on the screens.

However, Canning said there have been problems getting the programming software to work, and Rec Sports has been working with Informational Technology Services to solve the TV sets.

“ITS has (to work out) a few glitches before we can get a direct TV feed through the program,” he said.

Canning said Alex Kulcsar, assistant director of technology for Recreational Sports, was working to fix the faulty system, but did not know when it would be fixed. Kulcsar did not return several calls for comment regarding the status of the problem.

University officials are working to increase efforts to improve the quality of the gyms, as discussed at University President Mary Sue Coleman’s fireside chat with students last month . At the event, Harper and Coleman discussed further surveys and collaborations among consultants and student advisory panels on enhancing recreational facilities.

LSA senior Vivian Yu, president of Building a Better Michigan, a student group that advocates for improvement of recreational facilities on campus, said Rec Sports buildings are important to the student experience.

“These buildings embody student life on campus,” she said. “When students go to the Rec Sports buildings, they are looking to de-stress, to relax and to exercise and to have a better experience on campus.”

Yu said she thinks there is a definite need for improvement of recreational facilities and technology.

“I’d say … there is an understanding that buildings and technology are behind current standards,” she said.

Mariani said she is disappointed with the stagnant monitors installed in the gyms.

“I feel like if they get them, they shouldn’t just have them to say they have TVs; they should … be working with channels,” she said.

Medical School student Yashar Niknafs said he thinks that even if the televisions were operational, they wouldn’t be worthwhile to the students exercising at the gyms.

“There are only three TVs for, like, 1,000 pieces of equipment,” Niknafs said. “Even if they are turned on, I don’t think they will be all too effective.”

Rather than working televisions, Niknafs said he would prefer other changes at gym facilities including an increase in upgraded equipment, which the University has been working to implement over the past year through replacing outdated machines.

“Personally, I’d rather see better (exercise) equipment (rather) than TVs,” he said.

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