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UISG hopes to supply students with outdoor recreational equipment

UISG aims to supply outdoor recreational equipment for students to check out from the IMU later this semester.

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UISG hopes to supply students with outdoor recreational equipment

The Iowa Memorial Union glows in the evening Monday, Oct. 9th 2017. (Paxton Corey/The Daily Iowan)

The Iowa Memorial Union glows in the evening Monday, Oct. 9th 2017. (Paxton Corey/The Daily Iowan)

The Iowa Memorial Union glows in the evening Monday, Oct. 9th 2017. (Paxton Corey/The Daily Iowan)

The Iowa Memorial Union glows in the evening Monday, Oct. 9th 2017. (Paxton Corey/The Daily Iowan)

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The University of Iowa Student Government plans to supply recreational equipment for students to check out for free from the IMU.

A Facebook survey posted Oct. 3 invited students to check which of 12 equipment options they would like to use. A few options included footballs, soccer balls, and Frisbees, said UISG Director of Student Services Kyle Scheer, but by far the most popular option was hammocks.

Students will be able to check out equipment for 24 hours from the IMU welcome desk, similar to services already in place at the IMU where students can check out phone chargers and umbrellas for no charge.

Scheer said he hopes to get the initiative completed by the end of the month, and at the very latest, by the end of the semester.

Currently, no UI recreation facility allows students to check out outdoor recreation equipment for free.

“Right now, our policy is that all of our equipment is indoor only,” said Shea McMurray, assistant director of facility operations for Recreational Services.

Out of 155 responses, about 80 percent of participants would be interested in checking out a hammock said Scheer.

“I would definitely use hammocks, especially on the Pentacrest,” freshman Sarah Schade said, “Because hammocks are expensive, you don’t want to buy it and use it once. You’d be able to rent it and see if you like it.”

Related: IMU charges into better service

Hammocks are sold by three major emerging companies, ENO, Kammock, and Grand Trunk, at prices anywhere from $20 to $150.

Currently, students can hammock using any trees on campus, Wendy Moorehead, the UI Facilities Management strategic communications manager, said in an email to The Daily Iowan.

“We haven’t seen any evidence of tree damage from this use and as long as that continues to be the case, we are fine with it,” Moorehead wrote in the email.

The idea originally came about when Scheer studied abroad in Tilburg University in the Netherlands over the summer, which had implemented a similar program.

“I knew that the Pentacrest and Hubbard Park were being underutilized in terms of using it for recreational activities,” Scheer said. “I know I always find a little joy in seeing people throwing around a Frisbee.”

UISG Sen. and project organizer Abby Simon said that the UISG team had looked at other schools across the country and drew inspiration from the University of Utah, which allows students to rent such equipment as Frisbees, basketballs, and soccer balls for a charge. One difference in the program planned by UISG, will be that the equipment checkout will be free for students.

Embedded in tuition, each undergraduate student pays $36 in activities fees, and UISG plans to use some of that funding to pay for recreational equipment. Simon said that the team has sent the funding proposal to be approved by the president and vice president of UISG, and will hopefully implement the service at the very latest by the end of the semester.

“We are planning not to go over $1,500,” Scheer said. “We want to make sure we use the student activity fee in the most efficient way possible.”

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