Editorial: Keep SLC open 24 hours


It seems as though a student’s work load gets heavier each semester – each day, if we’re honest. With classes, work, homework, group projects, sleep and an attempt at holding a social life, it’s difficult to fit exercise in a “normal” hour range. And while Moody Memorial Library – a place for cognitive development – is open through the wee hours of each day, the McLane Student Life Center – a place for bodily development – does not offer equal hours of operation to Baylor students.

Students should be concerned about health. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States and can often be prevented or corrected with regular exercise. By offering 24-hour use of the SLC to students and faculty, the university would show an initiative to put health as a priority and it would help fit students’ schedules.

Currently, Moody offers students unlimited access to study areas. The book depositories and research sections close at 1 a.m. every morning. The common locations – Allbritton Foyer, the Garden Level Study Commons, Prichard Quiet Study Commons and elevator lobbies – are always accessible. The SLC, in contrast, provides students with only 18 hours of use. That’s 25 percent less time to access its facilities.

If a student has a job with late hours, like waiting tables, then he or she is not afforded the same opportunity to utilize the SLC as someone whose hours are less demanding or more flexible. The students who are not able to access the SLC at a time that accommodates their schedule either have to pay membership at a local gym or not have access on campus. Access to the SLC – and the option to bring guests at an additional fee – is included in a Baylor student’s tuition. Why keep students from something they are already paying for just because their schedules are full?

The purpose of the SLC is to provide an exercise facility to Baylor students, but it is not completely serving that purpose with its current hours.

The entire facility would not need to remain in operation during the extended hours. For instance, the rock wall, racquetball and basketball courts, pool and upper levels could all be closed off, while keeping only a minimum staff to operate the weight room and entrance.

Unbridled access to the SLC could keep students from proper amounts of sleep, but it is not the university’s job to exclude members of the community who do not have a “normal” schedule. Honestly, who is really getting the “recommended” amount?

While an increase in hours of operation would require Baylor to staff the facility at night, the graveyard shift would not need to be as extensive as the day shift. By only keeping the weight room open at night, staffing could be minimized to only a supervising staff member in the weight room and a desk clerk at the SLC’s entrance.

Additionally, later hours could bring opportunity to students who need to work while in school but do not have feasible hours because of their course load and additional obligations. Night shift work is something some will choose to do in the post-graduate work force.Why not make that an available possibility now?

With the advent of 24-hour access gyms, it makes sense to offer this possibility to the Baylor community. Allowing students continuous access to an exercise facility could help to improve overall health of the Baylor community.