FitDesks: Work your body while you work your brain

Photo Courtesy of The Gateway
Photo Courtesy of The Gateway

Bryan Rutan

A good rule of thumb for the amount of time in a week a college student should spend studying is two hours for every credit hour at-tempted, at least according to the Association of American Colleges & Universities.

By this measure, a full-time student taking on a course load of 12 credit hours should be hitting the books for approximately 24 hours every week. While adherence to this rule of thumb is likely more an exception than rule, it is inevitable most students devote a considerable amount of their time to their studies during the week.

With so many students on campus struggling to juggle classroom, work and social commitments, it can be hard to find time to focus on staying physically fit.

Thanks to the addition of two FitDesks in Criss Library, students won’t have to choose between maintaining a healthy grade point average and maintaining a healthy body.

Situated in the southwest part of the lower level of the library, the desks are part exercise bike and part workspace. The addition of the machines is part of a larger effort by the library to provide students with innovative spaces from which to work.

Joyce Neujahr, director of patron services for Criss Library, said the library continually seeks to serve the campus community with unique options for knowledge creation.

“FitDesks, the Creative Production Lab, group study rooms, the theater room and hi-tech classrooms like room 249 are all examples of the physical space,” Neu-jahr said.

Neujahr said the idea for bringing in the desks was first brought up by Director of Archives and Special Collections Amy Schindler, after she had read an article about other libraries having success with the FitDesks.

‘The dean and all three directors thought this idea worthy of exploring so we decided to purchase two and give it a try,” Neujahr said.

According to the FitDesk website, the Bike Desk model retails for $299. Neujahr said funding for the bikes was secured through a combination of funds from the library’s general account and money generated from the library fee paid as part of student tuition.

Next to the FitDesks is a white-board asking users to leave any thoughts or suggestions they have
regarding the new study option. So far, student reactions posted on the board have been mostly positive.

One user wrote that the desks are a “pretty lit idea.” While another suggested it might be a good idea to rig the bikes so they could charge a phone or a laptop while the user is riding. Neujahr said student feedback is something the library is looking for and takes very seriously.

“We are always interested in hearing from our students about the services they would like to see in the library,” Neujahr said.

The desks are available for all patrons of the library on a first-come, first-serve basis, and can be accessed during regular library hours.