New Year’s resolutions bring more students to the RSOP

Illustration by Evan Hughes

Illustration by Evan Hughes

The new year is always a time for rethinking one’s plans, goals, and choices. This is true across the country and certainly at UMD. With physical activity as one of the most common New Year’s resolutions in the country, the Recreation Sports Outdoor Program’s (RSOP) large schedule of spring semester activities provides UMD students with a long list of paths to take in order to fulfill their new mission.

We spoke with RSOP Director Mick McComber about whether or not the myth of New Year’s resolutions proves true for RSOP. McComber was quick to confirm that the new year always brings bigger crowds to the gym and RSOP sporting events, but also pointed out other factors that help drive students to work out.

“There is no question that the facility is at its busiest in the first half of spring… there is a noticeable increase in January,” McComber said. “While many students embrace the winter, others are driven inside. I think that this factor, combined with wanting to get the bodies ready for spring break, are the primary motivators.”

With its doors open from 6 a.m. to midnight every weekday, the RSOP’s recreation center, which includes weight-lifting and cardio training areas, represents a highly accessible option for on-campus students looking for physical activity without leaving the campus.

The ways students use the RSOP to take on their New Year’s fitness goals are ranged. McComber confirmed that every student seems to find a slightly different way of using the RSOP to fit their goals. “The fitness center [is popular]… use of the running track noticeably increases. Intramurals are always popular, as is participation in our many sport club teams.  Outdoor activities are also popular, especially when the weather and snow cooperate.”

McComber also stated that while student involvement is always high, the RSOP can clearly see that this time of year is an important one. “90% of UMD students are involved in RSOP in some way so we always seem busy, but there is no question this time of year is even more so.”

Whether students find on-campus programs or go about their resolutions in their own way, the RSOP sees their position on campus as a great way to help and one that is quite parallel to students looking to spend more time outdoors or exercising. Asked about the mission statement of RSOP, McComber said, “Active, healthy lifestyles and connection to the outdoors.  We want students to move their bodies and spend time in the outdoors... the result is reduced stress, better focus, better sleep, improved health and ultimately a more balanced life.”

Schedules, sign up forms, events, and further information about the RSOP is available on their website,