The Beacon goes to Beauchamp: making the gym more approachable

The recreation center is intimidating for many students. Here are a few ways UP is trying to sweat out that stigma.

By Wilder Isom | April 18, 2023 2:00pm
by Gavin Britton / The Beacon

Walking into the Beauchamp Recreation Center can be a little bit overwhelming. After scanning your ID you're immediately subjected to four different activities: the rock wall, the weight and machine room, the basketball courts and an open area welcome for stretching or more core workouts. However, this was all intentional. 

“We're trying to make our programs accessible and welcoming,” Brian Dezzani, the director of recreation services at Beauchamp said. “We do that from the minute you step in the door … you come in and you notice that everything is wide open.”

While some love this open floor plan, others are intimidated and walk away defeated and don't even make it up the stairs. What they might not realize is that on the second level, the recreation center is trying its best to sweat out that stigma by offering beginner friendly classes

The Beacon had seven staff members give the line dancing class taught by Audrey Sauter a go. Editor-in-chief Brie Haro, News and Managing Editor Kate Cuadrado, DEI Editor Chiara Profena, Community Engagement Editor Kimberly Cortez, photographers Riley Martinez and Alexly Campos Martinez, and myself (Wilder Isom, sports editor) all got together and did their best …

Sauter’s line dancing class takes place every Wednesday at 8 p.m. and is a super fun way to get a workout in but don’t let the thought of lifting heavy deter you from wandering through the gym. 

We came to the class with a variety of backgrounds, from trained dancers, to those who have dabbled in line-dancing, to people from places like Texas and Colorado where you would think this would come naturally (spoiler alert: it did not). But, everyone enjoyed themselves and highly recommend trying out that class you’ve been eyeing. 

On the way out, we noticed how even the gym’s setup was done to make everything more convenient to newcomers. The weight machines have been placed to make the space more inviting and the cable machines are placed before the weight racks to make them more approachable.

“The facility has open spaces like the functional training area,” Dezzani said. “The indoor and outdoor [spaces] where there's no things set up.”

Beauchamp also offers a variety of intramural leagues, from male and female sports teams to co-ed ones where anyone is welcome. 

If going to the gym alone is daunting and it feels like you don’t know enough about weightlifting, sophomore Rand Aldujaili — the president of the weightlifting club — is trying to make a space where everyone feels welcome. 

Media credit: Rand Aldujaili

“The first step I wanted to do is partner people up,” Aldujaili said. “So I always have them with a gym buddy. They really do work together and they try to get comfortable together. And that was one of my biggest ideas for them, to get comfortable with other peers and their community.”

Currently, the meeting time for the club has been a little sporadic due to busy schedules but they would like to meet every Thursday night or every other Thursday night. If you want more information about the club their engage page has all their information. 

The gym may seem like an intimidating place, but work has been done to make it a more approachable place for students. From the intentional open floor plan to offering a variety of classes that range from yoga, boxing, line-dancing and cycling, Beacuchamp is putting in the effort to encourage everyone to join in on what they have to offer. 

Wilder Isom is the sports editor at The Beacon. She can be reached at