FAQs

  1. What will the referendum fund?
    • New 35,000 square foot Fitness and Wellness Center (FWC), which would feature:
      • Expanded cardio, weights and activity space
      • Climbing wall
      • Instructional kitchen (cooking and nutrition classes)
      • Alternative therapy space
      • Gender-neutral changing rooms, showers and restrooms
    • New 5,000 square foot Fitness Center at Memorial Stadium
      • Open to all students
      • Will be completed by 2014
    • Elimination of the $10 Rec Sports membership
      • All students will have access to the RSF and other Rec Sports facilities
    • Replacement of two current Rec Sports fees set to expire in 2016-2017
      • 2006 Recreational Sports Fee at $50.00 per semester, increasing to $55.00 per semester in fall 2015 and expiring at the end of spring 2016.
      • 1981 Intramural Sports Facility Fee at $28.50 per semester, expiring at the end of spring 2017
  2. Why does Berkeley need new fitness and wellness facilities?
    • Over the last 15 years student enrollment has increased by 19% while the size of the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) and University Health Services (UHS) Tang Center have remained unchanged.  As a result, the current mix of facilities is not able to meet student needs.  For example, the general national standard for recreational activity space is 8-10 ft per student, and UC Berkeley currently only has 3.5ft per student.
    • The new facilities will be designed to be more accessible and inclusive; so all students will be able to pursue personal fitness and wellness in a welcoming environment.
    • Additional space and funding would allow University Health Services to provide new services students have been requesting such as alternative therapies, wellness classes, mindfulness activities, a teaching kitchen with nutrition classes, and more.
  3. Why are fitness and wellness opportunities important to students?
    • Berkeley is a world-renowned academic institution.  Students are engaged in a rigorous course of study and experience considerable stress as they pursue their degrees.  Research has shown that students who exercise regularly experience reduced stress, improved health and are far more productive and successful academically.
    • Fitness and wellness behaviors developed in college also sustain and improve the life of students long after graduation.
  4. How much will students have to pay?
    • For the first two years, the net increase to students will be $30 per semester.  Students currently pay about $80 per semester in fitness related fees from two previous referenda, in 1981 and in 2006, plus a $10 membership fee.
    • A significant portion of the new fees would actually just replace the previous referenda fees and the RSF membership fee.
    • At its highest level, in 2045-2046, the fee will have increased to $287 per semester, which adjusted for inflation equates to $140 per semester or a net increase of $51 per semester in today’s dollars.  1/3 of the fees collected are returned to the Financial Aid Office to provide funding for students who cannot afford the fee and are eligible for financial aid.
  5. I can’t afford to pay the increased fees.  Can they be covered by financial aid?
    • 1/3 of the fees collected as a result of the referendum will be returned to the Financial Aid Office to help offset the cost of this fee for those who need and are eligible for campus-based aid.  Also, the current $10 Rec Sports membership fee is not eligible for financial aid, but must be paid by students directly.  The referendum fee will eliminate the voluntary $10 membership fee, and make it part of the each students’ fee package, thereby making the fee eligible for financial aid.
  6. Since the Fitness and Wellness Center (FWC) will not be completed for several years, won’t current students be shouldering the cost without receiving any benefits?
    • The fee increase is very modest for the first two years, with a net increase of only $30 per semester, and will be used during that time to construct and operate a new fitness center – open to all students —  at Memorial Stadium, which is expected to open in 2014. The full fee will increase when the FWC opens, meaning that those who directly benefit from the FWC will pay the majority of its cost.
    • It should be noted that if students had not approved a referendum in 1981, the RSF would not have been built and opened in 1984.  Those forward-thinking students left a legacy that current students still enjoy.
  7. Students already pay a fee for UHS, so with the new referendum, won’t they be paying double?
    • None of the FWF is going towards services at UHS—Tang Center. Instead, a relatively small portion of the fee is going towards a unique set of new and expanded wellness-related services that students can engage in at the new Fitness and Wellness Center. Students will be able to work out and also access the following in the same center:
      • New alternative therapies (e.g., acupressure, reflexology)
      • New teaching kitchen (e.g., healthy meals in 15-minutes or less, cooking on a budget, vegan cooking)
      • Individual sessions for physical therapy for sports injuries, stress management, nutrition education and counseling
  8. What controls will there be to ensure students are not paying too much?
    • Two student committees, the Fitness and Wellness Center Program Committee and Fitness and Wellness Fee Advisory Committee, will ensure that the project scope and ongoing operating expenses remain within the budget.  The FWF expires in 2045-2046, at which time students will have an opportunity to vote again on a replacement fee.