Cal Poly students are petitioning to create Recreation Center workout hours for women and nonbinary students only — a fight against “feeling uncomfortable and over-sexualized on campus,” according to the petition.
The petition, started by business administration senior Lydia Dasari, interdisciplinary studies senior Shauna Sweeney and biomedical engineering senior Melissa Martinez, became an idea after the girls worked on a project about women-only gyms in their Introduction to Entrepreneurship (BUS 310) class.
The goal of the petition is to provide a place for women and nonbinary students to exercise safely, according to Sweeney. She said this is especially important in light of recent sexual assaults on campus that have left women feeling vulnerable.
The petition cites the popularity of all-female gyms and their ability to promote an equitable workout experience.
“When I do work out at the gym, I am usually on the stairmaster, or the treadmill, or the bikes or something, but in the huge mirror you can just feel so many eyes on you, especially men who are working out with the weights right in front of you,” Sweeney said.
In addition to signatures from women and nonbinary people, there has been a lot of interest from men who understand the privilege that they get at the gym and want women to feel the level of security that men do, according to Dasari.
“It has been really encouraging to see the signees that don’t necessarily fall into women or nonbinary categories,” Dasari said.
The petition, which will be sent to ASI, once had a goal of 200 signatures. As of Oct. 21, it had garnered 302 signatures with a new goal of 500.
The climbing wall outside the Recreation Center has previously held a “Women at the Wall” event, and the petition is asking that the Recreation Center tries to implement something like that for the workout equipment inside.
“We‘re not asking for that much,” Martinez said. “We are really only asking for an hour a day at minimum. I think baby steps are the best way to start to get there.”