On the corner of University Drive and Martin Luther King Boulevard, the university’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC) serves as a community center for students, employees and patrons alike. Equipped with a 53-foot climbing wall, multiple courts for different sports and a 24,000-square-foot fitness zone, the CRWC allows students and patrons to come to participate in their recreational activity of choice.
Thousands of people stop by the Rec on a daily basis. There can be hundreds of people in the building at any time. Among those patrons are some Rec regulars who come on a weekly basis to practice their sport, exercise or socialize with friends.
Toluwalase Adedipe plays basketball at least once a week on the courts at the Rec. He can be found joining in on a pick-up game with strangers. Being a regular on the Rec’s courts, seeing the same faces, quickly turns strangers into acquaintances. Although not his best friends, he says, there is a mutual understanding and a sort of friendship that forms.
“Playing on a team with someone you’ve never met before you have no choice but to like get to know them while you play,” Tolu said “Then when I come again if I see that we already know each other… You guys have common respect for each other because of the game.”
Mohamed Mohamed is a regular at the climbing wall. Whenever he’s not working, he climbs about three times a week there. When asked about his experience at the climbing wall, he says that it is a place where he can socialize with other climbers often. He’s even made friendships that go beyond the wall.
“It feels like home with all the regulars around,” Mohamed said.
Saloni Mistry is a self-described gym rat. Working out six times a week at the Rec, she knows pretty much every regular on the fitness floor. She describes the community there as supportive.
“We all hype each other up and genuinely want each other to succeed both in fitness and life,” Saloni said. Being a regular and getting to meet other people with similar interests, Saloni has made friends through working out at the Rec.
“Coming to the [Rec] definitely makes my day 100 [times] better. [The Rec] is more than a community, it’s a family!”
Community is created by the people we meet. Strangers turned into friends in a comforting space that feels like home, the Rec is that place for many.