UMD SGA Files Bill to Provide Outdoor Recreation Area on South Campus

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The University of Maryland SGA introduced a bill at its Wednesday meeting to support construction of an outdoor recreation facility and training equipment near Reckord Armory or Engineering Fields .

The bill will be voted on at next week’s meeting.

At its meeting last week, the Student Government Association received 13 concerns from students about the lack of workout equipment, particularly pull-up bars, on South Campus. Thirteen students also submitted concerns for tonight’s meeting regarding the same topic.

Among the bill’s supporters are members of that university’s ROTC program. Several students mentioned that nearly 600 Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC cadets would benefit from the zones. The bill also mentions benefits for cadets.

“Students deserve more outdoor training facilities,” said Joshua Winston, Senior Public Policy Specialist and SGA Public Policy Representative. “After a year indoors in COVID, I think it’s the right time for the university to recognize all the opportunities there are to train outdoors.”

University Recreation and Wellness supports the initiative, Winston said.

“Students have explained to me in the past that it’s not fair to students. [who] live all the way to south campus to get all the way to north campus to use that outdoor gym,” said Winston, who sponsored the bill and is an Army ROTC member.

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The new bill would see the SGA submit a proposal to the Student Facilities Fund for the training area.

The Student Facilities Fund is a prize pool filled by the mandatory $18 student facilities fee and set aside for physical campus improvements that enhance student life. Any member of the university community may submit proposals for campus improvement projects to the fund committee.

The fund was established in 1999, but did not fund any projects until 2015. The fund has spent about $3.5 million to date and about $1.37 million is lapsed there, according to Josie Shaffer, vice- chair of the ASG, who is also a past chair of the fund committee.

Currently, two outdoor training areas are in the planning stage. The Student Facilities Fund has allocated $66,000 for the construction of a pair of Thrive 450 training structures during the fall 2019 semester, but nothing has been done yet as the final locations have not been finalized. by the Architectural and Landscape Review Board.

“When projects are ugly, they are sent to the Architectural Landscape Review Board,” Shaffer said. “It’s delayed because they need time to do site assessments.”

In the fall of 2017, the Student Facilities Fund allocated funds for the construction of the ROTC Challenge course which now sits outside the Xfinity Center.

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The SGA also passed three bills at the meeting the body presented last week. The bills collectively create a sexual assault awareness campaign, mental health first aid training sessions and a social media campaign promoting free emergency contraception.

An amendment has been added to the bill for the creation of mental health first aid training specifying that the training will be free for students.

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