Campus Recreation and Wellness Center

October is back! Bringing midterms, due dates, and truckloads of candy, October leaves me with all my favorite autumn foods and the tipping scales to prove it. After metaphorically flinging textbooks across the room, I find the best way to let off steam—and those extra pounds—is to head over to our Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC).

The CRWC opened in the summer of 2010 offering three floors of dedicated work out space. All floors have fitness equipment separated by weights, cardio, and stretching. Each area has floor to ceiling windows offering views of the city, the smaller campus park, or the Iowa River. With a 1/9 mile Jogging Track, two Basketball/Volleyball courts, a multi-purpose Gym, three Activity Rooms, 50-meter Competitive Natatorium, and many lounge/study areas, the CRWC has three key features that truly distinguish it from other campus recreation centers.

The Climbing Wall

The CRWC boasts a climbing wall standing 52 ½ feet high. Gazing up, it feels like looking up a mountainside, as the skylight obscures the top of the wall. It was impossible to fit the entire structure in my camera frame. It is so popular with the students on campus it has its own separate hours within the facility! Climbing training sessions are offered on appointment, ranging from beginner to advanced. Rec Center Staff also offer campus-sponsored trips over the weekend and academic breaks. Yet, there are many more surprises lying behind the climbing wall.

The Leisure Pool


When constructing the Leisure Pool, the University of Iowa considered all students’ input and decided to include everything. Three Lap Lanes give the noncompetitive swimmers a place to maintain their form. Soaking in the 25-person Hot Tub is the perfect rejuvenation for sore, tired muscles—especially in the cold, Iowan winters. For the kid in every college student, the Mushroom Sprinkler makes a return off to the side of the main pool area. Circulating the water is a Lazy River making up a major portion of the pool area. The recreation staff will even set up Water Volleyball and Water Basketball. However, the most popular feature of the leisure is the Video Board. Water-related movie events based off of movies such as “Jaws” or “Pirates of the Caribbean” have drawn in crowds even after the movies have been shown multiple times. A recreational center cannot run on its fitness and fun alone. It needs something that can bring students in who don’t choose to work out that day. It needs what every college student loves: food.

Tropical Smoothie Café offers healthy options and comfort for both students and community members in Iowa City. Having two ordering counters, students don’t actually have to enter the facility, to order their favorite Panini, salad, or smoothie. With protein enriched, dairy free, and low calorie options, these smoothies can be a great post workout snack or pre-study pick me up. Not only that, but the university also has “meal deals” included in a student’s meal swipe option on their student ID. A 12oz smoothie, grilled chicken pesto Panini, and an apple is just one satisfying combination available to students under the meal deal. No meal swipe? No problem. Students can use their tuition included Hawk dollars—$100 per semester to apply any university business on campus—to pay for their meal. Tropical Smoothie is one of my favorite spots to pick up a provided copy of the New York Times outside the café and just relax after I’ve worked out.

With winter fast approaching, it will get harder and harder to motivate my friends to step out the door into the Midwestern weather even for the promise of a hot tub and a sauna. Nevertheless, I know where I will be spending four days out of every week. I will be climbing toward the snowy peaks of Iowan sky, relaxing in the steaming hot tub and sipping a refreshing Pineapple Sunrise at the University of Iowa’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.

Lauryn Ash is currently a second year, sophomore at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, studying English and International Studies. During the school year, she is a volunteer/intern for ICFRC/CIVIC, an NGO dedicated to bringing international issues along with international visitors into Iowa City and Eastern Iowa. When she’s not watching Doctor Who or Sherlock, she’s either studying Japanese, writing fiction, or blogging from her main blog: She also contributes a new, monthly column series for NICHE Literary Magazine, which can be found at