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Sunday, February 10,2013

Forum to give OU students a chance to provide their two cents about Ping rec center

By Alexander Card
Ping Center
Photo Credits: Maddie McGarvey
Photo Caption: Ping Center will be changing its hours.

Ohio University's Ping Center will be holding an open forum this Tuesday (Feb. 12), giving students an opportunity to voice their concerns and ideas regarding potential changes to the recreation facility and its policies.

An email announcing the forum was sent to OU students last Thursday. Ping officials scheduled the forum after a series of other policy changes went into effect two weeks ago. Those changes involved a relaxed dress code at Ping, as well as students being permitted to consume sports drinks throughout the facility.

Larrissa Keiser, the assistant director of promotions and assessment for Campus Recreation, stated in an email that Tuesday's forum will focus on the "complaints [students] have most as a patron on both equipment and the facility," as well as future programming, policy changes and facility changes. She said she hopes the forum will yield productive dialogue between students and the Ping 2015 committee, in addition to illuminating topics the committee may have overlooked.

The Ping 2015 committee functions as an assessment team for the Ping Center, according to Steven Sammons, interim executive director of Campus Recreation. The committee makes "recommendations on how we can... be more progressive, both short term and long," Sammons said.

So far, the committee has relied heavily on student surveys to gather data necessary for policy changes. One method featured iPads displayed near the entrance to Ping. Students could answer questions on the iPads as they entered or left the facility.

Though it certainly looks flashy, technology's role in the surveying process is more about efficiency than aesthetics, according to Sammons. "It's not just eye-candy," he said. The use of technology can often simplify data-gathering, and aids interaction between students and administration.

The upcoming forum will also utilize a type of technology with which nearly everyone is familiar.

At the forum, questions will be presented to students, Sammons said. "We're doing this with texting. While students are in the forum... they will be able to text [a number] to answer the poll questions." The results will be updated live using a projector screen.

"This is our first Ping Center open forum, so we're not sure what to expect," Keiser said regarding anticipated attendance. She noted that Sammons will be present at the event, and students will have the opportunity to engage him directly.

Through previously gathered data, the committee has already determined there is a need for more free-weight space at the rec center. Sammons cited this, as well as the recent changes to dress policy, as examples of the influence students have in the development of Ping Center policies. He also affirmed the importance of student involvement in the decision-making process.

"We're concerned with the type of service we're giving the students," Sammons said. "We want their feedback and definitely encourage them to participate with us."

The Ping Center open forum will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Ping Center Lounge. Students are encouraged to stop by and participate in the forum at any time. For further questions, email Larrissa Keiser at


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