YeoFit Undergoes Schedule Changes

The now three-semester-old YeoFit program is being assessed by program leadership to determine the best model to both encourage attendance and minimize cost moving forward. The program offers a variety of free fitness classes — including yoga, cardio boxing, spinning, and more — throughout the week at the Shanks Health and Wellness Center. These offerings are prone to change, though.

YeoFit classes have led to structural changes evaluated by attendance and advertising initiatives throughout the Athletics department in an attempt to better establish the program on campus. One such advertising initiative occurred throughout the first module: Students who attended a specified number of YeoFit classes were rewarded with hats, headbands, or shirts emblazoned with the program’s logo.

“Everything we do with YeoFit is aimed at increasing student attendance,” said Wellness Coordinator and Head Softball Coach Sara Schoenhoft. She also takes to social media to engage with students, keeping them up-to-date of changes in the schedule and new contests via Instagram posts.

Schoenhoft also listens to and implements student suggestions. Recently, this strategy has involved adding evening classes to the schedule and increasing the number of student instructors on staff. One such student, College third-year and yoga instructor Lucy Kaminsky, has taught yoga since high school. During her first year, Kaminsky renewed the charter for the Oberlin Yoga Club and taught classes through the program. In her second year, when YeoFit was founded, she began teaching through that program. Kaminsky’s classes drew massive crowds, and her Monday evening class was consistently one of the most attended of any YeoFit program last semester.

However, Kaminsky also teaches classes to smaller audiences, with some classes consisting of as few as two students. Small classes, such as these, are in danger of being eliminated. According to Schoenhoft, the program will examine and potentially eliminate classes with low attendance. For now, this won’t impact very many offerings.

“We will offer all the same classes, just one less Zumba and AquaFit because those classes weren’t very highly attended,” she said.

Kaminsky sees both pros and cons to this practice.

“I think if there are a lot of people coming, it means that it is at a time that works for the most people,” she said. “But also I think that attendance doesn’t necessarily correlate to the value of the class.”

YeoFit coordinators determine class sizes based on sign-in sheets presented at each session. However, according to Kaminsky, these sheets are not entirely accurate — she claimed that approximately 10 percent of class-goers do not sign in. This establishes an error margin for the reforms, as they neglect that 10 percent attributable to human error.

“It’s interesting because this isn’t a yoga studio, so classes aren’t driven by profit, but rather, they’re driven by cost,” Kaminsky said.

In this mentality, the YeoFit coordinators arrange their program reforms based on the most effective allocation of funds, as profits are consistent regardless of attendance, because classes are free for all students, faculty, and others who have access to the Shanks Health and Wellness Center.

Debra Herzog, jump rope class instructor and personal trainer to President Carmen Twillie Ambar, lauds YeoFit for “the way it brings people who otherwise wouldn’t be coming to the gym and working on their fitness — be it emotional fitness or physical fitness — to the gym in a way that makes them feel comfortable.”

She said she thinks of YeoFit as an introduction to fitness, as it provides for a variety of interests. Herzog also values the fact that classes are free to students and other gym members, thus promoting its accessibility.

Ambar enjoyed the activities so much that, according to Herzog, she purchased the YeoFit program’s first jump rope set herself.

With all of the program’s restructuring considered, according to Schoenhoft, YeoFit program-goers cannot expect to see much widespread change, but slight schedule changes that are based on instructor availability and the previous semester class attendances. She attributed these changes to the fact that YeoFit is still such a new program and is constantly evolving, with its three- semester age contributing to its relative room for establishment on campus.